Destinations: Hanoi – Sapa – Than Uyen – Mu Cang Chai – Nghia Lo – Mai Chau – Hanoi
Highlights: Beautiful trekking tours in Sapa, Mu Cang Chai and Mai Chau, discover different minorities in the North Vietnam
Brief Sapa & Northwest Loop Tour
Day 1: Hanoi – Drive to Sapa
Day 2: Sapa Tour (Trekking to Muong Hoa Valley)
Day 3: Sapa – Than Uyen – Mu Cang Chai
Day 4: Mu Cang Chai – Nghia Lo
Day 5: Nghia Lo – Moc Chau – Mai Chau
Day 6: Mai Chau – Hanoi
Description: An amazing combination of Sapa and the beautiful northwest of Vietnam that will definitely be a lifetime adventure tour to explore the remote and little visited parts of the country. Your first stop in the Northwest is Sapa - a must-see destination while traveling in Vietnam as well as in the Northwest as it offers beautiful views of terraced rice fields, diversified culture of local ethnic minorities and amazing trekking routes. From Sapa, you will continue your beautiful trip to visit different minorities in Than Uyen. In particular, you will be mesmerized by the beauty of people and the scenery at Mu Cang Chai, Nghia Lo, Moc Chau and Mai Chai. The tour is flexibly organized and you will have a private car/bus and English/French speaking guide.
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Your Vivutravel's private tour guide and car will pick you up at your hotel in Hanoi then start 5 hour drive to Sapa. Stop ont he way for break and photos.
Check in on arrival and overnight in Sapa.
Sapa, in the terraced hills and mountains of this area, the monotony of the expansive green landscape is enlivened by the colours of its hill tribe population. It is here you will find hands stained with colour from fabric dyes and shades of blue, red and green intricately embroidered and stitched into jackets, waistcoats, pants, skirts, caps, purses and leggings.
After breakfast, take a morning walking tour of Sapa for a visit to the busy market where Red Dao, Black & Flower H'Mong, Tay and other ethnic minority people converge from the surrounding countryside to sell their silverware and handicrafts, and to buy provisions. Afterwards, we will do one of the most beautiful Sapa
Tours with the drive to visit Lao Chai and Ta Van village of the Black H'mong and the Day people where you can enjoy fresh air, amazing scenery of the imposing mountain range, trek down world's most beautiful terraced rice fields, visit some local family on the way and learn unique culture and life of these ethnic groups.
Arrival Ta van village, you will be welcomed by the host. Check in and overnight in Ta Van..
This morning, we drive to visit the Silver Waterfall - the most beautiful waterfall in Sapa then enjoy the great view and feeling at the "Heaven Gate" of Sapa - the highest point of Hoang Lien Son mountain range where you can see majestic Lai Chau valley and imposing Fanxipan mount.
On the ways, you have a great chance to visit the small villages of Lu people in Binh Lu, Lao people in Than Thuoc before reaching to Mu Cang Chai. Check in Mu Cang Chai Ecologe. In this amazing place, you have time to take a light walk to explore the daily life of local people.
Today you will have an impressive trekking day at Han Xung village of the Hmong people, you will immerse in the majestic natural landscape, the unique terraced fields in this area
You will then continue the journey by moving to La Man Tan - a very beautiful and impressive destination because of local people and scenery. You also have the opportunity to visit the family, the school to understand more about the daily life of people in this area.
Continue the trip to Nghia Lo via Khau Pha pass – one of the four beautiful passes in the North where you have a great chance to enjoy the beauty of Tu Le valley. Lunch on the way before reaching Nghi Lo. Spend the leisure time to discover Nghia Lo town and overnight in Nghi Lo. .
Say good bye Nghia Lo, we continue our journey through Phu Yen, Bac Yen district of Son La province, where you can have server stops on the way to explore the small villages of Thai ethnic minority
Crossing the ferry in a gentle Da river, you will come to Moc Chau - a famous prairie for the green tea plantations, famous for dairy farms in Vietnam. You will have an opportunity to understand the process of producing the products from green tea. We will then continue the trip to Mai Chau, you are welcome to the village of the White Thai ethnic people. Spend the leisure time to explore several neighbor villages. Overnight home-stay in the traditional house-on-stilts.
Overnight in Mai Chau.
Wake up to the sounds of the village: roosters, morning vendors and people's voices. You have an early breakfast this morning before bidding farewell to Mai Chau and its friendly people. Your destination for today is Hanoi. It is an 3.5-hour journey back to the nation's capital with a visit to the Muong ethnic minority in Hoa Binh province..
Check in on arrival and overnight in Hanoi.
Note: We can arrange extension tour to Halong bay or further southward to Hue - Hoi An - HCMC - Mekong delta.
Question 1: Best time for Sapa & Northwest Loop Tour
Sapa and the Northwest are very famous for their endless beautiful rice fields that look really like a picturesque landscape. And you can fully enjoy that beauty while traveling to those areas from May to Sep. In May & June, it is called the water falling season by the local people as it is the time they fill in the terraced rice fields with water. Everywhere is like a giant mirror reflecting the natural beauty and the sunlight. In Jul & Aug, the rice fields are being colored green and arising as a charming green picture. The most beautiful time to enjoy terraced rice fields in Sapa and the Northwest is at the end of August and in the beginning of September when they turn yellow – a perfect color of a masterpiece created by nature and human.
How about the other months? In fact, the other months are also a good time to travel to those areas as you can see many other amazing things like peach and plum trees & flowers in Spring time from January to March or snow sometimes covering everywhere in Winter time from December to February.
Just be aware that many days in Winter can be sunk deep in fog and frost with short views and make your trip out of our expectation. However, discovering the daily life of local people during Winter gives you memorable experience, for sure, as their hard conditions are really shown on those days.
Question 2: Trekking routes and trekking distances
Trekking is a must-do activity while traveling in Sapa & the Northwest, then it plays an important role in that trip, of course. So you should clear all information with your travel consultant or tour guide about your trekking tours as some of them are very hard and dangerous that are just suitable for young and energetic people only. A suitable trekking distance will help you fully enjoy the trip, the culture, the local people as well as the nature, otherwise, tiredness of a hard and long trekking distance will surely make you have many negative thoughts.
The trekking routes are also important as it should really be arranged based on your traveling time. In beautiful time, it is advised to do popular trekking routes even though they can be crowded with tourists as those routes pass amazing terraced rice fields that you have never seen. However, when the harvest season is over, you should consider the trekking routes that are not crowded and passing remote villages.
Question 3: What should be prepared for Vietnam Northwest Loop Tour
Clothes: Traveling in a cool season, you should prepare summer clothes with some light jackets as it will be pretty cold in the early morning and evening. Whereas warm coats are highly recommended for traveling in cold season as it can be even dropped to 5 degrees under zero.
Rain gear: Weather in the Northeast is not stable that can be changed continuously. It can be rain in the early morning but sunny at noon and rain again in the late afternoon. Then rain gear should be well prepared.
Personal drugs: The far north is really lack of medical infrastructure as well as pharmacy. Then it is advised to bring your personal drugs as well as popular medicines like paracetamol, thermometer, anti-itching lotion, oral rehydration preparation and bandaids.
Mosquito and insect repellent: Those stuffs are necessary as you may trek through the wet jungle or stay at local houses near the forest.
Question 4: Traveling in rainy season
You should consider traveling to those areas in rainy season as it can be dangerous sometimes. When it rains a lot in those areas for many days, erosion is pretty popular and may much affect to your trip.
Question 5: Traveling to Sapa & the Northwest with kids
Traveling with kids to those areas is really fine as the trip is not hard, the road conditions are pretty good and the accommodations are also in high quality. However, you should choose a good trekking route that can suite your kids in distance and level.
Question 6: Is it safe for traveling to untouched areas
It is safe, for sure, while traveling to the Northwest Mountains or even border regions as those areas are highly controlled and protected by local government. That’s why you have to apply for permission before visiting to the border regions and it will be arranged by your local travel agent. The local ethnic groups are also friendly and hospitality even they can’t speak both Vietnamese and English.
Question 7: Interact with local people
Local people are not familiar with tourists but you are surely warmly welcomed by them as Vietnamese in general and ethnic people in particulars are very open and kind and so love to see you as well as to help you in case you need. Then, you should show your good attitudes all the time if you want to visit their houses as well as make a short chat with them. Remember to ask for acceptance when you wish to take their photos.
Question 8: Road condition
Road condition is not a big problem when traveling in Sapa & the Northwest as they are mostly big and smooth roads
Question 9: Donation
The donation is highly recommended and it can be money or not. Normally, you can bring along warm clothes for both adults and kids as it is cold there all year round. Quilted Blanket is another great idea. Or at least, you should prepare some small gifts for local kids like cakes, notebooks, pencils, etc.
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- Mosquito and insect repellent: Those stuff are necessary as you may trek through the wet jungle or stay at local houses near the forest.
Thanks to the investment of local government, hotel accommodations during your trip in Sapa and the the Northwest are quiet pleasant. You have different choices of both choosing homestay to really experience the daily life of local ethnic monirities and staying at nice hotels and resorts.
In each city, you can easily find beautiful hotels & resorts and your best hotel options are as below:
1/ Amazing Sapa Hotel: Modern 4 star hotel
2/ U Sapa Hotel: Boutique 4 star hotel
3/ Victoria Sapa Resort: Charming and boutique 5 star resort
In Lai Chau:
Muong Thanh Lai Chau Hotel: Modern 4 star hotel
In Dien Bien:
Muong Thanh Dien Bien Hotel: Modern 4 star hotel
In Mai Chau:
1/ Mai Chau Ecolodge: Charming and beautiful 4 star resort
2/ Mai Chau Lodge: Boutique 3 star hotel with traditional architecture
In Son La, just basic hotels are available. And in case you love spending your nights at local homestays, it is not a bad idea as homestays in those areas are acceptable with basic facilities such as mattress, pillow, mosquito net, hot shower and Western toilet. As below, we provide you with general introduction of simple accommodation in those areas:
Guest-house & mini-hotel: They are quiet similar in architecture and facilities. All guest-houses & mini-hotels are small building less than 5 storeys with basic facilities of bed, mattress, pillow, mosquito-net, private bath room, hot shower, western toilet and air-conditioner mostly.
Homestay: As revealed through its name, Homestay means that you will stay at local houses with local ethnic minorities that are mostly stilt-houses. Private rooms are not available and you will have a small mattress with a pillow and a mosquito-net. The bathroom is sharing with hot shower and western toilet available.
And below is a list of accommodation's images in the Northeast areas:
Room at a mini-hotel
Room at a guest-house
Toilet at a mini-hotel/guest-house
Sleeping space at homestay
Tolet at homestay
Tour guide and driver are Vivutravel's representatives and your travel companions during your travel in Sapa & Northwest Loop Tour who take care of our travel services and make your holiday a memorable time. Understanding this, Vivutravel always selects the best tour guides and drivers for such amazing trips to the far North.
We do understand that a good tour guide will make your holiday a beautiful time and tour guides who work with us are well-paid, experienced with a university background, eager to exchange our culture, lifestyle, knowledge...with travelers, and have a great passion for their country and understand the personal touch.
Then we always use experienced tour guides who are expert in guiding trips to those Northeast areas and will show you the most beautiful view-points, introduce to you unique cultures and lifestyles of local ethnic people as well as guide you to amazing trekking routes.
Vivutravel guarantees to offer the best means of transport during your Sapa & Northwest Loop tour. The safety, comfort and security of our customers come first. Furthermore, as all tourist sites are mostly far from towns and city centers, vehicle must be the latest modern one or it will be very difficult to manage in case it is broken on the way. Furthermore, checking the vehicle carefully before the trip is a must-do procedure in order that it will work well and stays away from all rising troubles. Our drivers must be very experienced and careful too as it is not easy to go around those untouched areas. They are all full time workers, government licensed in the tourism industry with at least 5 years driving experience.
Luxury restaurants are not available in the far North of Vietnam. Standard restaurants can hardly find. Then our meals are mostly at basic local restaurants with simple dishes. It is not expensive for having lunch/dinner there and it costs around 5-7 usd per meal only. Breakfasts are mostly not included at hotel and you will have breakfasts outside with Vietnamese popular dishes like noodle soup, sticky rice, bread, etc.
NOTE: Acceptable restaurants are all located at towns which are sometimes far away from our visiting destinations. So lunch can be arranged quite late at around 1pm or 2pm.
We have traveled twice with Vivutravel and were always very satisfied. The choice of hotel and guides/ drivers was very good. If you go back to Vietnam, it will be certain with Vivutravel. We can only recommend it.