Thailand's adventure holiday specialist for a small independent group and customized travel in Thailand and neighboring countries

The Northwest Loop Of Vietnam

Tour code : WT. VN 03
Duration : 7 days 6 nights,
Type of tour :Private Tour
Start and end in Hanoi
Minimum passengers : 2 persons
Trip Grade: easy to moderate

About the tour

Despite the rough roads the Northern Loop tour has become a bit of a classic. This is on account of the overwhelming scenery and the popular hill town of Sapa , an old hill station (elevation 1,700 meters) close to the Chinese border. The region is home to numerous colourful ethnic minority groups. The trip also includes a visit to the historic battlefield of Dien Bien Phu .

This northern loop, you have chance to stay in the traditional long house on stilts, get closer to daily life of Thai ethnic minority people at Mai Chau, Hoa Binh and encounter a number of hill tribes, picturesque landscape, wildlife of Tay Bac (Nord West). You will discover the undiscovered part of Vietnam and have definitively experiences of life.


Day 1: Hanoi - Hoa Binh - Mai Chau (-,L,D)

After breakfast we depart Hanoi for Hoa Binh province and the town of Mai Chau . This scenic drive takes around three hours. Along the way we pass fields of tapioca and sugar cane as well as rice paddies. Following lunch in Mai Chau town we spend the afternoon walking through the various ethnic minority villages in this area. We spend the night with a local Thai family, who will be our hosts in a traditional house built on stilts in Poong Con village. Whilst enjoying their hospitality, we will discover a little more about their lives and culture.

Day 2: Mai Chau - Son La - Dien Bien Phu (B, L, D)

Departing Mai Chau we make our way west to Son La. Our first stop will be the small township of Moc Chau. Following a short tea break we will have a brief look around this little hill town. We then board our vehicle for the drive to Dien Bien Phu . It is on rough roads, but it is worth while as the scenery is dramatic. We will encounter many ethnic minority people along the way. In the late afternoon we catch up with more tribal people such as The White Thai, Black Thai, Hmong, we arrive in Dien Bien town and check into our guesthouse for the night.

Day 3: Dien Bien Phu (B,L,D)

Our schedule will be a little more relaxed today as we spend the day around Dien Bien Phu visiting the former battlefields. It was here that the French planned to lure the Viet Minh, led by Ho Chi Minh, into the valley by sending 16,000 French troops as bait. The French however did not count on the brilliant leadership of General Vo Nguyen Giap who somehow managed to place the Vietnamese artillery on the surrounding ridges. From March until May 1954 the Viet Minh pounded the French positions until the French capitulated with the loss of 3,000 men. It's estimated that the Viet Minh lost more than twice that number. We also visit the museum and some of the hill tribe villages. Tonight will be our second night in Dien Bien Phu .

Day 4: Dien Bien Phu - Phong Tho (B,L,D)

After breakfast this morning we will set out on our drive to Phong Tho, around 8 hours away. The roads deteriorate considerably and increase traveling time, but the scenery more than makes up for this. Once we reach Phong Tho (if on thursday) we will visit the local market. This market is becoming popular with visitors that make the extra effort getting here, as it is one of the most colourful markets in Vietnam . We also visit some villages of hill tribes here. Night in a guest house in Phong Tho.

Day 5: Phong Tho - Sapa (B,L,D)

From Phong Tho we drive east to Sapa. This is in quite a remote area and as a result some of the roads will be fairly rough and uneven. Yet this is to our advantage as there will be fewer tourists along the way to spoil our views of the beautiful and dramatic scenery which we will encounter along the way. The beautiful hill station of Sapa has both breath-taking scenery and modern-day comforts. We leave Tam Duong early as we continue our journey to Sapa, arriving around lunchtime. After lunch we have the whole afternoon to explore the town. We spend tonight in Sapa.

Day 6: Sapa Walk (B,L,D)

Today we walk to the hill tribe villages of Cat Cat, Ta Van and Cau May situated in idyllic valleys, which are covered with a patchwork of rice terraces. Cat Cat is home to the Hmong people who originated from China , where they emigrated from about 300 years ago. The Hmong people are easily recognizable due to their dark clothing, usually blue or black. The dye is fashioned from the indigo or hemp plant that is native to the area. Hmong women wear long aprons with embroidered waistcoats and have their hair rolled up into a turban-like hat, whilst the men wear a black skullcap, long waistcoat and loose trousers. As we walk to the villages nestled in the valley below Sapa, we will meet some of the local minority people on their way to and from Sapa. These minority people, including the Red Zao, Hmong and Tay people, walk to Sapa to trade at the markets. Tonight we spend a second night in our hotel in Sapa.

Day 7: Sapa - Lao Cai - Yen Bai - Hanoi (B,L,-)

We have an early breakfast this morning before bidding farewell to Sapa and its friendly people. Our destination today is Hanoi . It is an 10-hour journey with some stops and visits on the way back to the nation's capital along some of Vietnam 's most scenic roads.

B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner