Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails 13 days 12 nights

Tour code: NA01E
Duration: 13 days 12 nights
Route: Hanoi - Lao Cai - Sapa - Bac Ha - Ha Giang - Ba Be - Cao Bang - Lang Son - Halong Bay
  • Day 1: Hanoi - Sapa (B/L/D)
    • You’ll arrive early in the morning rounghly 5:30 am (This is the train that takes you to Lao Cai from Hanoi booked by Mr Linh's Adventures the night before) at the railway station in Lao Cai, a border town between Vietnam and Yunnan, China. From here we set out on a 38km drive along the winding roads through the mountains of Sapa, located at 1500m above sea level. If you’re lucky enough to be here on a clear day, you may even see the highest mountain in Vietnam, the Fansipan, while driving this route.
      We’ll reach our hotel in Sapa in time for breakfast at 8am, before we start walking off the beaten path to to Lao Chai village. Views of Muong Hoa Valley and its magnificent surroundings are great here, featuring stunning mountains and sprawling rice terraces.
      After a picnic lunch on the way, you will continue through the valley to Ta Van Village to visit Dzay people, who are known to be some of the friendliest people in the region. The next village is Giang Ta Chai which belongs to the Red Dzao tribe where you will see some amazing scenery. Tonight you will stay overnight in a local house of a Dzay family.
      - A 10 - 12km trek

      Learn more about Trekking around Sapa
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 2: Trekking to Giang Ta Chai (B/L/D)
    • After enjoying breakfast with your hosts, you will begin the trek from Giang Ta Chai to Su Pan taking in more incredible views along the way. This really is an unbeatable way to start the day, surrounded by wild and beautiful natural landscapes and clean, fresh air.
      In Su Pan, you will be able to meet local people who belong to the Red Dao and Black Hmong ethnic groups. After having time to meet with them and explore their village, you will begin the trek back to Sapa. This gives you one last chance to take in the breath-taking views of the mountain ranges and rice paddies. Dinner on your own and overnight in Sapa town.
      - A 15 - 17 km trek.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 3: Sapa - Muong Khuong (B/L/D)
    • Today is the most challenging in terms of trekking but also the most rewarding. After 2 hours of following a flat path, you will begin the dizzying climb up the mountain. You will follow a small track through a thick primary rain forest which can be quite challenging if it has been raining, but this is the only route for local villagers going to Muong Khuong. You will have the opportunity to see many wild giant butterflies in a rainbow of colours, flitting through the fresh mountain air.
      Once we reach an altitude of about 2000m, an incredible vista of terraced paddies appears, decorating the rolling mountainsides. Weather permitting you will stop for a picnic lunch next to a waterfall and then continue on to Coc Dong Village, belonging to the Nung hill tribe, arriving in the mid-afternoon. You will stay overnight in the stilt house of a local family.
      - A 5-7km walk.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 4: Muong Khuong - Bac Ha (B/L/D)
    • We set out for the weekend market of Muong Khuong in the morning, which attracts a wide variety of minority groups such as the H’mong, Dao, Thu Lao, Pa Di, Tu Di and Phu La - they are even more very less ethnic minority group in Vietnam (If today is not on market day, we then drive about 30 minutes to Coc Ly boat station to go downstream to Bac Ha). The drive to Muong Khuong is about 2 hours, and then in the early afternoon we continue on to Bac Ha. Here we’ll stop for an overnight break, and we’ll enjoy a walk on the trails behind the H’mong Kings Palace. Dinner on and overnight in a lodge at Bac Ha.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 5:  Bac Ha - Hoang Su Phi (B/L/D)
    • Upon leaving Bac Ha we set off on a half day journey to Sin Man and Hoang Su Phi.
      The rough but scenic route traverses a dense jungle before crossing over a pass and descending down to Sin Man. This day is a real challenge for our driver as we travel by winding roads with many uphill and down hill sections. Along the way we may encounter the Nung Ing, Tay, Red Dao, Dao Ao Dai, La Chi and Co Lao, which are just some of the many hill tribe groups who have settled here. After lunch at loca restauramt, we set out on a 4 hour trek off the beaten path to explore the many villages situated on high altitudes around Thong Nguyen. The path will carry us upwards for about half an hour before spilling out into scenes of lush forest, tea plantations, terraced rice fields and majestic mountain slopes. Dinner and overnight at Hoang Su Phi Lodge.
      - A 7-10km trek.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 6: Hoang Su Phi - Yen Minh (B/L/D)
    • The journey from Hoang Su Phi to Ha Giang is a mesmerizing passage through the rugged beauty of northern Vietnam. As you leave the terraced fields of Hoang Su Phi, the landscape unfolds like a living tapestry of lush green mountains and winding rivers. The road meanders through picturesque valleys, offering breathtaking views of cascading rice terraces carved into the hillsides. Lunch in Ha Giang and turn toward Ha Thanh village for a 4-hour hike to Tay Con Linh mountain. Then the driver picked us up to travel to Yen Minh. Tonight we have dinner and stay overnight at Nam Dam village.
      - A 7-10 km trek.

      Discover Ha Giang Province and its wonders
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 7: Yen Minh - Dong Van -  Meo Vac (B/L)
    • The remote region of Dong Van and Meo Vac is a land of rugged mountains and beautiful hill villages  which have stood unchanged for centuries.
      Today we head north-west out of Yen Minh 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 hill tribe people's colourful costumes and the majestic mountainous scenery make this long and  bumpy trip an unforgettable experience. We pay a trek behind the trails of Lung Cam village before stopping for lunch in Dong Van town and making the another trek off the beaten path up to 8 km to the top of Ma Pi Leng Pass, through a gigantic maze of limestone peaks, stone forests, and canyons before descending into the valley of Meo Vac. Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Meo Vac.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 8: Meo Vac - Ba Be National Park (B/L/D)
    • An early morning start with a drive through the rolling hills and the picturesque scenery to Ba Be National Park. The roads are very bumpy and windy, however we will get a chance to meet the Hmong, Dao, Tay and Nung ethnic minorities who make up the main population of this region. We are sure to attract their attention as this part of the country receives very few visitors.
      Depending on road and traffic conditions, one when we arrive to the Boc Lom pier, you will learn how to paddle a kayak on rivers, take dry bags, sports equipment and life jackets... From here, you will continue to travel down the Nang River to explore the huge Puong cave by boat and kayaking. Then, you will cross the Nang River and pass through some steep terrain with many cat ears cliffs. We then to Ba Be Lake by motorboat. Swimming is available here.for dinner with a Tay family at their homestay in Coc Toc village.
      - A 13 km river & lake.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 9: Trekking & Tham Phay Cave Expedition (B/L/D)
    • After a thirty-minute drive, you'll reach Tham Phay Cave, the hike starts with a steep uphill leading into the forest. Some rock at the top, and then a similar slope before the trail fades and you enter the valley. Turning west of the trail is a large patch of rock for you to find your way through, with the help and direction of your guide and safety team. The precarious entrance is at the end of the forest. Enjoy some snacks before starting to explore the cave.

      Tham Phay Cave is a beautiful stream cave with two underground river tributaries, where you will experience narrow passages, craggy mountains and some deep pools with very nice photo opportunities. Plants and algae cover many calcite formations. Going deeper into the cave, you will find many unusual features of the cave such as the ceiling dome and many layers of rock, giving the walls a striking appearance. You will spend about five hours exploring this 5km deep river cave, which geologists have not discovered so far. Of course, we will provide you with the necessary equipment, such as helmets and powerful headlights. The cave expands considerably as you go through the original entrance and offers some great opportunities for excellent photos.

      Enjoy a few snacks before continuing the journey to explore the 2nd path of the cave system that possesses miraculous stalagmites millions of years old, dangerous sinkholes and heat flows at the bottom . Leaving Tham Phay, you will return to the cave entrance and return to the original pick up point.
      - A 12- 15 km trek & expedition under the ground.

      Where to stay and what to eat in Ba Be National Park
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 10: Ba Be Lake - Cao Bang (B/L/D)
    • The next destination on our trip is Cao Bang Town. After breakfast we set off on our half day journey past spectacular mountainous landscapes, with a mixture of steep terraced rice field and hill villages. Along the way, we can make stops at our leisure, to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. Afterlunch in Phia Thap, we will set out to explore the traditional craft villages. The first stop is Phia Thap village, a Nung community famous for making incense for more than 100 years. Then we will continue the journey through the fields to come to the tile making village with yin and yang tile style. Next stop, Phuc Sen forging village. Here we will witness the stages of forging knives of the people here. Next is the knitting village of the Nung ethnic group. Dinner and overnight in Nung's house.
      - A 5-7 km trek.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 11: Cao Bang - Ban Gioc Waterfall - Lang Son (B/L)
    • Today we set out for one of Northern Vietnam’s most incredible natural wonders; Ban Gioc Waterfall. This breath-taking 300-meter wide cascade forms part of the Chinese-Vietnamese border, and here you can relax in this natural wonder with plenty of time to snap some photos. You’ll also get to board a bamboo boat and get right up close to the raging waterfall.
      Next we’ll visit a local market where you get to experience the diverse cultures of the area, before hiking to Phat Tich Temple which aside from being a great cultural experience, offers some of the best views of Ban Gioc with China in the background. Next up with pass through several hill tribe villages before reaching the tranquil town of Dong Khe and That Khe. By late afternoon we’ll arrive in Lang Son, a border town all but destroyed in the recent Sino-Vietnamese war, but rebuilt into a thriving trade hub in the years since. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Lang Son.
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 12: Lang Son – Halong Bay (B/L)
    • The lively central market of Lang Son, we depart for Halong, truly one of Vietnam's most impressive scenic sights. The drive is difficult at times as we travel  through many mountainous areas.
      The breath-taking scenery here is some of the best in Asia, and we’ll have some opportunities en route to visit the Tay, Nung and San Diu hill tribe people.
      On arrival in Halong, the cruise leaves the harbor, you will enjoy lunch and be impressed by the beauty of the hundreds of karst islands on your way passing Halong Bay to Lanha Bay. Visit Light and Dark Water Cave, where you can do kayaking or bamboo boat rowed by local people. Dinner on your own, then overnight  on cruises.

      Learn more : Halong Bay, UNESCO Heritage
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
  • Day 13: Halong Bay - Hanoi (B/L)
    • Today we embark on a sailing boat for an exploration of Lanha Bay to Cat Ba Island. This exciting five hour cruise provides a fantastic view of the  bay which is dotted with some 3,000 limestone islands rising amazingly from the clear and emerald water. The limestone karst formations are littered with beaches, grottoes and beautiful caves, and using our small boat cruising through the multiple islands & islets, hidden beaches… also a short visit on bicycles to Viet Hai village, an isolated village in the very heart of Cat Ba National Park.
      Along the way we will anchor for a leisurely swim in a secluded cove and an enjoyable visit to one of the many hidden grottoes beneath towering cliffs. After a seafood lunch on board we return to Hanoi.

      Choose your favorite cruise in Halong bay !
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails
      Trekking on Vietnam's hidden trails

Accommodation List
Please note that the hotels mentioned in this list are for reference only. Depending on availability and your preference, they can be changed. If we are unable to book any hotel, it will be replaced by another hotel at least of equivalent standard and value.
PAO's Sapa leisure hotel
Address: Muong Hoa Street, Sapa Town, Sapa District, Laocai province
Nestled in a favourable hillside position, overlooking the spectacular view of majestic mountains, moss-green rice terrace plots and the poetic Muong Hoa valley, Pao’s Sapa Leisure Hotel is the most luxurious five-star hotel in Sapa town.
Pao’s Sapa Leisure Hotel offers 223 rooms featuring the cultural identity of Sapa, subtly blended with high-class rooms and impeccable facilities. Possessing charming curves in harmony with its natural surroundings, Pao’s Sapa Leisure Hotel is a fabulous destination for a visit that will awaken your senses.
Thanh Loan Hotel
Address: V131 Vuon Cam, Hop Giang Ward, Cao Bang Province
Located in the center of Cao Bang city, Thanh Loan Hotel is ideal place for both tourists and businessmen. The hotel has two branches, which is only 1km away from each other. The system of over 50 rooms is suitable for diverse needs of customers. The system of comfortable rooms, modern, cozy space, gives guests the perfect resting space. Each room is fully equipped with: cable TV, wifi, telephone, 2-way air-conditioner and hot shower.
Hoa Cuong Hotel Dong Van
Address: Dong Van Town, Ha Giang Province
Hoa Cuong Hotel is located in the center of the ancient town of Dong Van district - Ha Giang, where the center of the Highland area of ​​stone was recognized by UNESCO. The hotel opened in early 2015 is the most modern hotel in Ha Giang province
Mr Doan's Homestay
Address: Ha Thanh village, Phuong Do, Ha Giang City, Ha Giang Province
Visit Mr Doan, his wife and his two sons in a traditional stilts house of Tay ethnic minority group in North of Vietnam. He is a good chef and kind owner
Ba Be Jungle Houses
Address: Coc Toc village, Nam Mau commune, Ba Be district, Bac Kan province
A step up in amenities to Ba Be's homestays, this lakeside place in Coc Toc village takes the form of six small, spic-and-span, wood-panelled private rooms, and a dorm. Visitors are well looked after by friendly English-speaking staff.

5 average based on 1 reviews.

Traveler rating

Very Good

Wrote a review 5 - 2023
Personalised Tour - Outstanding
Review of: 13
We recently travelled from the North to South Vietnam over 13 days with a private tour guide throughout. We had booked our flights and had some idea of what we wanted to see but contacted Mr LInh Adventures who came up with an itinerary to suit and it was all brilliant. We had a local tour guide at each area we traveled starting with Billy who met us at Hanoi airport and whose knowledge and friendliness was great and a perfect start to our welcome in to Vietnam. We had the highlights of ...Read MoreHanoi in 1 day and then followed on to Lan Ha Bay for an overnight cruise with Calypso then met the following day and drove to Ninh Binh for an overnight stay and then a day in the Tam Coc countryside before boarding an overnight train (met by next guide Hoa, to Phong Nha and spending a day at the national park (zip wire, dark cave, mud bath and paradise cave) over night at the lake house and then a day travelling to Hue via the Vinh Moc tunnel and crossing North to South. Next day greeted by Long and a day around Imperial Citadel, tombs, local market overnight in Hue and then on to Elephant Springs, Golden Bridge in Ba Na Hills and on to Hoi An. Next day met by Miss Phuong with a day round the local Tra Que Village on bikes (stunning local area) and then she accompanied us the next morning to DaNang airport. Met in Ho Chi Minh by Chin who accompanied us around Ho Chi Minh City, the following day to Mekong Delta and last day to Cu Chi Tunnels. The itinerary was action packed each day but with very informative local guides giving you the best out of your limited travel time and lunch was included where they booked you in to the local restaurants that they recommend and had some lovely local specialty foods. Don't feel we would have been able to see anywhere near as much had we tried to arrange things ourselves individually and also had the knowledge that they were their to assist with any problems that may occur. We had a fantastic trip and wouldnt hesitate to use again if and when we return to visit Vietnam as there is still so much to see. Ideally 3 weeks would be good to include Sapa, 2 nights on cruise at Halong Bay, more time in Hoi An for leisure time and beach (such a pretty area). Read Less
Date of experience: 5 2019

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