Day 1: Hanoi- Ba Be National Park (L, D)
You will be collected from your hotel at 07:30 to start your discovery of the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. You will begin with a trip to the Museum of the Culture of Ethnic Minorities of Vietnam. You will learn about the origins, beliefs and traditional ways of life of many different groups at this colourful and informative museum. This is a fantastic place to learn some history before experiencing the cultures first hand. After feasting on some authentic Vietnamese food in a street restaurant you will continue your journey. You will spend the first night relaxing in Mr Hung’s homestay.
Day 2: Trekking in Ba Be National Park (B, L, D)
Today is the day to unleash your inner adventurer as you veer off the beaten path and into the mountains of North Vietnam. You will get away from the usual tourist destinations in favour of discovering the true, pure beauty of nature. As you trek further, the staggering mountains, winding rivers and mystical caves are all waiting to be explored. Along the way, you will meet the H’mong people as who will share their culture with you. You will also travel to the villages of Khau Quan and Nam Dai and meet the Cash Dao people and visit their beautifully crafted wooden houses nestled in the mountains and valleys. You will then venture to Coc Toc where you will experience the life of the Tay locals who reside in tall, wooden stilt houses. You will get a firsthand experience of sleeping in a stilt house as you stay overnight in Mr Linh’s homestay.
Day 3: Caving Tour (B, L, D)
Next, let your adventure take to the water as you delve deep into the dark and mysterious caves. Shrouded in ancient beliefs, Hua Ma cave had until recently, been left undisturbed. This could be due to the local legends of the cries of ghosts that used to echo from the cave until a king built a pagoda to pray for their peace. Fear not though for what awaits you inside is an astonishing labyrinth of intricately carved stone. The stalactites and stalagmites pierce the echoing chamber, all carved out over years of geological activity.
Another gem that was only recently discovered nestled in amongst the impressive karst mountains is Lo Mo cave. This undocumented cave is accessed by a small opening covered by jungle overgrowth making it very secluded and difficult to find. It will ignite the imaginations of any explorer as you climb down into the recesses and discover the incredible rock formations and lights that dance in this cave. The cave is also host to a whole array of bats and insects.
After the excitement of the day exploring you will be greeted with a warm welcome back at Mr Linh’s homestay where you can enjoy delicious home cooked food and a night of relaxation.
Day 4: Ba Be Lake- Hanoi (B, L)
On Day four you will take to the water once more as you discover the beauty and diversity that Ba Be has to offer. Ba Be, meaning three lakes, is made up of three smaller lakes. It is unique in that it is the world’s only freshwater karst lake. This is the perfect time to see local people at work on their wooden boats or observe some of the varied flora and fauna inhabiting the flourishing environment. There are thought to be over 550 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish living in and around the lake. Some of the rarer species include Francois’ Langurs and a few white-eared night herons, both of which have attracted great attention.
You will voyage on the River Nang following it through the foothills of the towering limestone peaks. The journey down the river will bring you to the mouth of Puong Cave, a large cavern standing 30m high and 300m long. Puong cave sits at the base of the majestic Lung Nham Mountain, one in a chain of limestone mountains that spread across the sky and the river. The cave is not only impressive for its towering structure, but you will also the amazing colonies of bats living the cave with 18 different species currently inhabiting it. After this, you will stop for lunch at a local restaurant where you can refuel with some fresh local food before returning to the ever vibrant and buzzing Hanoi.