Destinations: Hanoi – Sapa – Hoang Su Phi – Ha Giang – Dong Van – Ba Be Lake
Highlights: A trip to the north of Vietnam through very little tourist areas, to get a glimpse of deep Vietnam, rich in surprises. The tourist interest of the province also comes from the presence of many ethnic minorities (Tày, H'mông, Dao, Nùng, Cao Lan, Hoa, Lô Lô) with their villages nestled on the slopes of the hills or lost in the valleys. The best time to visit Ha Giang Vietnam is between May, June, October and November. The roads, sometimes long and difficult are offset by the beauties of the landscapes.
Brief Sapa, Ha Giang & Ba Be Lake
Day 1: Hanoi – Drive to Sapa
Day 2: Sapa Tour (Trekking to Muong Hoa Valley)
Day 3: Sapa – Bac Ha Market (Saturday only)
Day 4: Bac Ha – Hoang Su Phi – Ha Giang
Day 5: Ha Giang – Sa Phin – Dong Van
Day 6: Dong Van – Meo Vac – Bao Lac – Ba Be Lake
Day 7: Ba Be Lake
Day 8: Ba Be Lake – Hanoi
Description: One of the most wonderful Vietnam tour to explore the northwest and northeast of Vietnam. Highlights of the trip are impressive terraced rice fields in Sa Pa, colorful market in Bac Ha, rock plateau in Dong Van, picturesque Ba Be Lake and so many other things to discover during the way. The trip is especially highlighted with learning about diversified culture of local ethnic minorities and discovering their unique daily life activities.
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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.
Back to Sapa by private car, free at leisure for the rest of the day. Overnight in Sapa.
Hightlight of all Sapa tours, Bac Ha market is a trading centre and meeting place where many different ethnic groups such as Flower H'mong, Phu La, Black Dao, Tay and Nung minorities gather to buy and sell local products that cannot be found elsewhere. The market was very crowded, local products for sale or barter are carried on horseback. Free to explore the market.
In the afternoon, take a walk to visit Ban Pho village of the Nung minority. Take great photos and experience the daily life of the locals. Overnight in Bac Ha.
Note: If it is not on Sunday, we will visit one of the below villages:
Can Cau - Saturdays
Cao Son - Wednesdays
Lung Khau Nhin - Thursdays
Coc Ly - Tuesdays
In the morning, visit Bac Ha market, considered one of the most colourful ethnic markets in the Northwest. Flower H'mong, Phu La and Dao Tuyen minorities gather every Sunday at Bac Ha to buy and sell their handicraft products and fresh produce. We set off on a full day journey through Sin Man and Hoang Su Phi to Ha Giang town. The rough but scenic route traverses a dense jungle before crossing over a pass and dropping down to Sin Man. Along the way we may encounter the Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao, just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled in the area.
Accommodation at Huy Hoang Hotel in Ha Giang.
The remote region of Dong Van and Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill tribe villages which have remained unchanged for centuries.
Today we head northwest out of Ha Giang Town towards this northernmost tip of Vietnam. The former H’mong royal house at Sa Phin is a primary attraction of the region, but the blend of the hill tribe people's colourful costumes and the majestic mountainous scenery make this long and sometimes bumpy trip an unforgettable experience.
Accommodation at Cao Nguyen Da Hotel in Dong Van.
Today, the journey takes you through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. We have time to visit Dong Van Town before continuing to Meo Vac which is inhabited mostly by the Lo Lo and Pu Peo ethnic minority people. They still retain their centuries old cultural traditions and are recognizably distinct from each other by their dress. The remoteness and the simple lifestyle of the area’s local people are highlights of Meo Vac. Living conditions are very basic here. Roads are bumpy and zigzagging through the mountains. But the journey is more than rewarding. Meet the locals and learn more about the life and culture of the Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities who make for the main population in this region.
Surely, your presence will attract the locals’ attention as this part of the country still receives very few visitors. Depending on road and traffic conditions, we arrive in Ba Be by late afternoon or early evening. Simple accommodation at a village home stay.
The legendary lake of Ba Be is just one continuous water body although the name means “three lakes”.
Today we embark on a boat cruising down the Nang River which is the main water source of the lake. This exciting boat trip will give you a taste of the tranquil countryside at Ba Be National Park. Visit the Poong Grotto before stopping at some nearby hill tribe villages and getting off the beaten track to the scenic Dau Dang waterfalls.
Simple accommodation at a village home stay.
After breakfast, return to Hanoi and visit Museum of Ethnology in Thai Nguyen. Check in and free at leisure.
Overnight in Hanoi.
Note: Extension tour to Halong Bay on request.
Question 1: Best time for Sapa, Ha Giang & Ba Be Lake tour
Northeast region includes mountainous provinces in the far North of Vietnam where the weather is cool/cold all year round. It will be severely cold from December to February with average temperature of 8 degree C and cool in the rest of year with average temperature of 25 degree C.
Be aware that it will be wet and foggy in cold season and you can't enjoy the spectacular and beautiful sceneries. However, there will be drizzly weather during cold season only, not typhoon. Furthermore, visiting local ethnic people during cold days will be different experiences as you can see and entirely understand their life of deprivation and misery.
Rainiest months in those areas are July and August, however, those 2 months are also best time for traveling to the Northeast as you can enjoy yellow rice fields in other areas in general and in Bac Son Valley in particular. Ban Gioc Waterfall is also more beautiful during rainy season.
Sapa is very famous for its endless beautiful rice fields that looks 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 turns yellow – a perfect color of a masterpiece created by nature and human.
Question 2: Traveling to Sapa & the Northeast areas in cold season
Hotel with heat: It is better to stay at a hotel with heater (of course, air-conditioner with heat is not available in those areas) if you are planning to travel to the Northeast in cold season. Homestay is not a good idea during that period as you can’t sleep well for sure due to low temperature and privation of warming facilities.
Question 3: What should be prepared for tour to Sapa & the Northeast
Clothes: Traveling in 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 stuff are necessary as you may trek through the wet jungle or stay at local houses near the forest.
Question 4: Traveling to Sapa and the Northeast of Vietnam with kids
Traveling to Sapa & the Northeast with infants and small kids under 6 yrs old is not advised because of the simple life condition and poor infrastructure in the Northeast areas, but older kids and teenagers are really fine as they can bear a pretty hard trip and more important, a lot of life-time experiences are waiting for them. In fact, Sapa is really fine for kids, however, the Northeast is not.
Question 5: Is it safe for traveling to untouched areas
It is safe, for sure, while traveling to the Northeast 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 6: 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 particular 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 7: Road condition
Roads in those mountainous areas are narrow, zigzag and rugged but keeping speed slowly by the driver will surely help you be comfortable and not too tired. However, you must be careful while standing on the road and taking pictures as the other drivers can’t see you due to zigzag roads.
Question 8: Donation
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.
Accommodation in Sapa
Thanks to the investment of local government, hotel accommodations during your trip in Sapa 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. And your best hotel options in Sapa 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
Accommodation in the Northeast
Unlike other popular tourisit destinations in Vietnam, tourism in the Northeast areas haven't been developed and so luxury and modern hotels are not available there. The available accommodation in those provinces are homestay, guest-house and mini-hotel with basic facilities. As below, we provide you with all necessary information of hotel accommodation in our Vietnam Northeast Loop Tour:
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
Toilet at homestay
Tour guide and driver are Vivutravel's representatives and your travel companions during your travel in Sapa & the Northeast of Vietnam 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 tour to Sapa & the Northeast. 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 had 8 beautiful days in Sapa, Ha Giang and Ba Be organized by Vivutravel. Sublime scenery, exciting and passionate English speaking guide, great experience of an evening and night at homestay, visits to minority villages, colorful market … Perfect!!! Thank you.