Northern Vietnam Tour 11 Days is provided by Hiking Vietnam team to the northern Vietnam. Start the tour by taking the overnight train from Hanoi to Laocai. Then travel to Cao Son, Lao Cai province where you will enjoy a half day hike to an local hill-tribe villages before visiting the Cao Son market is open on the following day. The multi-sport trip continues with a 5- day trek to Sapa. You trek through local ethnic villages are inhabited by the Black H’mong, the Red Dzao, the Xa Pho…Sleeping at local home (homestay) to experience the real life. You then take the overnight train to get back to hanoi then travel to Halong bay to enjoy the boat junk cruise tour. Optional water-sport including scuba diving, sea kayaking are also provided by the boat team.
Map of northern Vietnam tour
Northern Vietnam tour itinerary
Day 1: Hanoi – Lao Cai by train.
In the evening, transfer to Hanoi Railways Station for overnight train to Laocai. Departure at 21:00 (TBA).
Day 2: Arrive Laocai. Travel to Cao Son. Trekking Cao Son village.
Arrive Lao Cai Railway Station early this morning. You will be met up by Hiking Vietnam team local team and transferred to a local restaurant for breakfast. After few minutes resting, the driver will take you to Muong Khuong district, via tea plantation and forest of pine. You might encounter Giay tribe in their traditional dress in Ban Lau or Thanh Binh. Reaching Cao Son about 10.am. Check in Cao Son lodge and relax. In the afternoon you will commence your walk to the most secluded yet peaceful village – Tin Thang. In this village, people still distill the wine from corn, making bacon in the most basic way and offering special corn cake to anyone who drop by their house. Back to the lodge for dinner and overnight.
Day 3: Visit Cao Son Wednesday market. Travel to Sapa.
After having breakfast in the Cao son lodge, you will walk on a good paved road with local ethnic minority people to go to Cao Son market. Pine trees forests and villages surround the tinny market. Flower H’mong, Tu Di, Tay, Giay ethnic minorities come to buy and sell local products such as food and material for agriculture and fabric. People coming to the market not only for selling or buying something but also importantly to meet friends, relative and to sip some cups of wine until the dawn comes. No where else but here, Flower H’mong people greet you with a temptation of corn wine and endless hospitality. After exploring the market, you will be able to visit a village of Flower H’mong or a village of Tay people. You will then head back to Muong Khuong and have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, you get on the car for journey to Sapa. Overnight in Sapa.
Day 4: Trekking Sapa (Tavan village).
After breakfast, start your trek through the market and leave the busy town behind. After a couple of minutes, you follow a road going downhill to Cat Cat village. You will stop by a waterfall and a hydroelectric station for a while before you trek on a dirt trail through rice paddy terraces. You also will enjoy spectacular scenery while walking along a narrow river. You eventually arrive in Y Linh Ho village of Black Hmong minority, where you can take a rest while you are served lunch nearby the river. After lunch, you head Muong Hoa valley. You will pass through Lao Chai village of Black Hmong minority and then Tavan village of Giay minority by following a very popular trekking route. You will spend the night in local house of Giay minority. You will be able to take a walk to enjoy the valley view as well as swim in the river nearby.
Day 5: Continue trekking Sapa (Tavan village – Seomity village)
After having breakfast, you start today’s trek, which is mostly uphill until lunchtime. Whenever you stop for a rest, you will be able to enjoy valley view. Before noon, you stop again at a nice spot for lunch. The Sapa trek will be softer in the afternoon. But the scenery becomes even more beautiful. You pass by Seomity village of Black Hmong minority before you arrive in a campsite, which locates nearby a
river outside the village. While porters put up tents and cook dinner, you can take a walk to stretch the legs.
Day 6: Continue trekking Sapa (Seomity village – Ta Trung Ho village)
The trek today takes you through beautiful rice paddies and over old suspension bridges. You will trek on small trail sneaking through rain-forest. You arrive in Den Thang village of Black Hmong by noon. Here you stop for lunch either nearby a river or in a local school according to the weather. After lunch, the trek will becomes tough on tinny footpath going up and down, which requires a lot of concentration. You will reach to Ta Trung Ho village of Red Dao minority where you spend the night in local house. Both the valley and the village have just received foreign visitors. The night will be even more interesting when you are in the wonderful hospitable atmosphere of the Red Dao.
Day 7: Continue trekking Sapa (Ta Trung Ho village – Thanh Phu village)
You are now at the fringe of the rain forest by the Hoang Lien Son mountain range. Fansipan, the highest peak in Indochina with its 3143 m, is located in this mountain range. You will start the trek today by ascending to Nam Toong village of Red Dao minority. Here your lunch will be prepared in a local school. After lunchtime, you descend to the valley where locates My Son village of Xa Pho minority, one of the smallest groups ethnic in Northern Vietnam. From there you take a short walk to Thanh Phu village of Tay minority. Here you spend the night in traditional house of the Tay. You can take a walk to explore local daily life while your dinner will be served with Vietnamese dishes.
Day 8: Trekking from Thanh Phu village to Su Pan village. Travel back to Sapa, then to Laocai. Overnight train back to Hanoi.
Today’s trek is relatively short compared to other days. On the last day of the trek you will cross several suspension bridges. You will be able to stop by a waterfall and have time to swim in the river before arriving in Ban Ho village of Tay minority. Here you stop for lunch in a traditional Tay house. In the afternoon, you start climbing uphill. On the last hours you can enjoy the valley one final time while heading to Su Pan. Here your car takes you on the journey back to Sapa where you can have a short rest before travelling to Laocai to take night train back to Hanoi.
Day 9: Arrive Hanoi. Travel to Halong bay. Boat cruise with kayaking).
Arrive in Hanoi in the early morning, transfer to a local restaurant in town for breakfast. Enjoy the journey through the rich farmlands of the Red River Delta and the scenery of rice fields, water buffalo and everyday Vietnamese village life. Arrive in Halong and board a traditional sailing junk for your Halong bay cruise tour. Whilst cruising the exquisite waters sample the regions fresh seafood. Visit the recently discovered Surprise Grotto with its great views, and on the next island see the yawning mouth of Bo Nau Cave. Alternatively journey to Dau Go Cave and nearby see the famous stalagmites and stalactites of Thien Cung Cave. Enjoy a swim in the emerald waters of Halong Bay at any spot that you wish to visit or take a kayaking trip to explore the Bay. Watch the sun set over the bay whilst enjoying a delicious dinner. Overnight on board junk.
Day 10: Continue cruising, kayaking Halong bay.
Breakfast on board. Then we continue cruise. Lunch will be provided on board. In the afternoon, enjoy one more hour kayaking towards the Islands of Rocks or Ba Men temple (Paddling routes may change due to weather or other circumstances. Further details will be informed by our local guide before the trip). Dinner and Overnight on board.
Day 11: Halong bay – Hanoi.
Wake up to fresh coffee and a wholesome breakfast before cruising back to Halong City. En route the junk weaves through strange-shaped rock formations that invite comparisons from fighting cocks to dragons. Disembark at the dock at Halong City at 11:00 and return to Hanoi. Northern Vietnam Tour 11 Days is completed.
Hiking Vietnam specializes in tailor-making trekking and hiking vacations in 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 Tour 11 Days 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.
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.