Tribes of High Tonkin in 13 days

Overview :

The mountains of North Vietnam are home to about 40 ethnic groups: Mong, Thai, Tay, Dao, Nung... who rigorously preserve their traditional culture. This authentic tour allows you to meet these mountain dwellers who live in remote and splendid places with magnificent rice terraces. Finally, why not let yourself be seduced by the magic of Lan Ha Bay, Halong Bay's unknown little sister? In this fantastic place, the water is staked with the thousands of islands pierced with tunnels and caves…

Highlights :
  • Meetings with the local population
  • Magnificent rice terraces
  • Real immersion at the homestay
  • Unforgettable night on board in the wonderful Lan Ha bay

Vietnam Evasion difference

  • Itinerary outside the traditional circuits
  • Excellent local cuisine
  • Walking and biking in authentic villages
  • Various activities

This proposal of trip is customizable according to your desires. This form allows you to customize this tour and to get a free quote according to your expectations and your budget.

Itinéraire en bref:

Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival

Day 2: Hanoi (B)

Day 3: Hanoi - Lac Thac Ba, boat (B, D)

Day 4: Thac Ba lake – Nghia Lo, bicycle (B, D)

Day 5: Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai (B, D)

Day 6: Mu Cang Chai – Sa Pa (B)

Day 7: Sa Pa – Bac Ha (B, D)

Day 8: Bac Ha (B, L)

Day 9: Bac Ha - Hanoi (B)

Day 10: Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay cruise (B, L, D)

Day 11: Lan Ha Bay cruise – Ninh Binh (B, L)

Day 12: Ninh Binh – Hanoi (B)

Day 13: Hanoi – Return Flight (B)

   (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)


Day 1: Hanoi – Arrival

Welcome by the driver of Vietnam Evasion at the airport, transfer to the city center, installation at the hotel.

The rest of the day is free for rest and personal discovery at your own pace. We can walk around easily because the hotel is located in the heart of the old quarter. The streets are very animated, populated and commercial. A complete change of scenery.

Night at hotel

Day 2: Hanoi (B)

The whole day is dedicated to the visit of Hanoi, a fascinating and multifaceted city.

After breakfast, we will visit Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum where the father of the nation rests and the pagoda with the unique pillar. Let's continue by the temple of literature, first national university, where we discover the madarin contest and Confucianism.

Ensuite, le musée d’ethnographie (fermé tous les lundis) qui présente les traditions, cultures et tenues traditionnelles des 54 minorités ethniques du Vietnam.

Then, the Ethnography Museum (closed every Monday) which presents the traditions, cultures and traditional dress of the 54 ethnic minorities of Vietnam.

A walk in the streets of old Hanoi lined with small typical houses with lively activities that allows to see the daily life of the locals.

Night at hotel

Day 3: Hanoi - Thac Ba Lake, boat (B, D)

Road to Thac Ba lake winds between the mountains, stops in the villages of minority tribes, meeting the inhabitants, discovery of the daily life of the locals before reaching the home of the inhabitant located in a beautiful isolated village next to the largest lake of the country Thac Ba, landscape both wild and beautiful.

Visit on the way the tea fields.

Boat trip on the lake to discover the traditional fishing method of the local ethnic minorities in a beautiful landscape half aquatic, half terrestrial with 1331 islands covered with Acacia forest, reforestation to make plywood. Several ethnic minorities live from fishing and farming on the lake shore.

3h30 drive

Night at homestay (Stilt House)

Day 4: Lac Thac Ba – Nghia Lo, bicycle (B, D)

Departure by car to reach the Muong Lo basin where the town of Nghia Lo is located. This trip allows us to admire the landscapes and villages in remote places with few tourists.

Muong Lo is a large rice granary in the northwest and the home of the Thai ethnic group. Here, for hundreds of years, the local people have been growing flooded rice and building their traditional wooden and bamboo stilt houses.

An easy bike ride reveals the first discoveries of the Thai culture and daily life.

3h30 by car

Night at homestay

Day 5: Nghia Lo – Mu Cang Chai (B, D)

Departure for Mu Cang Chai through spectacular mountain scenery, sumptuous rice terraces. The rice fields here are the most beautiful in the country. This road is nicknamed as "photographers road".

Several stops to take pictures and meet local people in Tu Le, La Pan Tan and Che Cu Nha.

Superb view and splendid landscape

Possibility to meet Mong women working with linen on their traditional looms.

Still by car, we continue along the mountain range, going from surprise to surprise.

2 hours of walking to discover the landscapes and the life of the local people. We cross rice fields to reach the isolated villages.

2h30 by car

Night in a bungalow

Day 6: Mu Cang Chai – Sa Pa (B)

After breakfast, a rather steep climb awaits us in the Hoang Lien Son range composed of the highest mountains in Indochina.

Meeting with many Daos, Thais and Mongs peasants, always in traditional costumes. The road winds up to the highest pass of Vietnam (2047 m). Stop at the pass to enjoy the coolness and admire the Fan Si Pan mountain (3143 m), roof of Indochina.

Arrival in Sa Pa around noon.

Perched at an altitude of 1600 m, near the Sino-Vietnamese border, Sa Pa is the starting point for various excursions in the middle of nature. Overlooking huge rice terraces and vast green valleys, this former colonial highland resort hosts an important market that attracts thousands of Black Hmong and Red Dzao mountain people every morning.

Visit the multi-ethnic market of Sa Pa.

Afternoon :

We visit the village Y Linh Ho, far from mass tourism, consists of mountains, hills, covered with greenery including rice terraces and vast valleys, dotted with fields and hamlets, populated by the Black Mong minorities.

The driver will look for us at the end of the route for the return to Sa Pa.

4 hours of driving

Night at hotel

Day 7: Sa Pa – Bac Ha (B, D)

Morning, visit of the Ham Rong public garden.

Afternoon, transfer to Bac Ha.

Stop en route to walk in the typical Ma Tra village (1h30) with black Mong people. Walk through the beautiful rice terraces with wooden houses where the locals raise buffalos, black pigs, chickens..., meet the local people.

2h30 drive

Night at homestay

Day 8: Bac Ha (B, D)

Visit a colorful weekly market of the region where the different tribes of the surrounding mountains gather. Each ethnic minority wears its own traditional costumes and speaks its own language. The atmosphere is particularly picturesque: the mountain people in their colorful traditional clothes go to the market with their horses, agricultural products and children. These ethnic minorities coming from far away hamlets sell animals (buffaloes, oxen, pigs, dogs, horses...), fruits, vegetables, forest products, basketry objects, clothes... The market is not only a place of commercial exchanges but also a place of reunion and meetings. An authentic place where the locals still preserve their culture and traditions.

Back to Bac Ha for a walking tour to discover the splendid natural landscapes, the culture and the daily life of several tribes of the region. The hike starts on a nice path through a picturesque valley. The green vegetable gardens, corn fields, rice terraces unfold peacefully.

The easy hike continues in the middle of the mountains. We will pass over hills where green tea, corn and plum trees grow. You will enjoy the quietness of this remote area far from mass tourism.

Night at homestay

Day 9: Bac Ha - Hanoi (B)

Then back to Hanoi, we leave the mountains with regrets.

This trip allows you to observe the villages, the Vietnamese countryside and the beautiful landscapes.

6-7h drive

Night at hotel

Day 10: Hanoi – Lan Ha Bay cruise (B, L, D)

Morning departure for Cat Ba Island via Hai Phong

For the cruise, we do not propose the Halong Bay cruise, too touristic, but we propose to do it in Lan Ha Bay, very little frequented, much wilder and as beautiful on a small comfortable junk.

Around noon, boarding on a traditional junk for an extraordinary excursion to Lan Ha Bay from Cat Ba, outside the traditional circuits. Lunch is served on board while the junk sails along the turquoise water. Visit the floating villages of fishermen, islands and islets, "sugar loafs and peaks" of all shapes and sizes emerge from the emerald water surface.

During this cruise, we discover this immense chaos of karstic mounts, caves, lagoons with all these ghostly forms that we see from far away.

We kayak in a quiet place between the limestone creeks.

At the end of the afternoon, the boat drops anchor to spend the night in the bay in a quiet place away from the tourist crowd. It is then possible to take a bath in the middle of the sea or on a beautiful quiet isolated beach or to rest on the upper deck.

Dinner is taken on the junk in the middle of an idyllic landscape

3h30 drive

Night on board

Day 11: Lan Ha Bay cruise – Ninh Binh (B, L)

Morning: We wake up early to watch the sunrise over Lan Ha Bay.

Then we will continue our cruise in this bay by sailing through the thousands of "sugar loaves" emerging from the waves. We will have the impression to be in a world of fossilized animals millions of years ago.

Bike ride in the beautiful village of Viet Hai on a small path between fields and limestone peaks.

Return of the cabins around 10:00 am.

Early lunch in the form of brunch on board.

We disembark at the end of the morning, transfer to Ninh Binh

4 hours drive

Night at hotel

Day 12: Ninh Binh – Hanoi (B)

In the morning, we embark on a small boat with oars (1h30 of boat) to discover the caves of Tam Coc. We pass under the successive tunnels carved by the passage of water. Fairy-like atmosphere in the middle of the peaks and limestone sugar loaf, a natural landscape made of karst mountains overhanging an exceptional aquatic landscape.

Then, cycling along the small local road through villages, between rice fields and a limestone forest around Tam Coc until Hai Nham, Thung Nham, stop to visit the Bich Dong pagoda and then the Thai Vi temple.

Visit of Dinh and Le temples at the ancient capital Hoa Lu.

Return to Hanoi

2 hours drive

Night at hotel

Day 13: Hanoi – Return Flight (B)

Free time until transfer by our driver to the airport for your return flight.

This trip is private (no other person will join your group), modifiable according to your desires, your own rhythm and your budget.

Most of our tours have a package rate that includes all services on site except for the international flights of arrival and departure (because they are more expensive if purchased in Vietnam).

This rate varies according to the following elements :

  • The number of participants: the more you are, the less you will pay.
  • The choice of hotels and the choice of the room category.
  • The activities in the program.
  • The tourist period of the year.

To know the price of this trip, please click on : Request a quote

We will answer you within 24 hours (except on weekends).

Le prix comprend

  • Vietnam visa authorization and formalities
  • Hotels (2 persons / room) as mentioned in the list.
  • Meals in local restaurants clearly mentioned in the program (B= Breakfast; L= Lunch; D= Dinner).
  • Comfortable air-conditioned vehicles for all transfers and ground transportation.
  • Local English-speaking guides.
  • Excursion boats as described in the program, comfortable boat in Halong Bay with private cabins.
  • Entrance fees to the sites.

Le prix ne comprend pas

  • International arrival and departure flights and associated airport taxes
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Personal insurance
  • Bank charges related to payment
  • Drinks, telephone and anything not clearly mentioned in the "Price includes" section

Vietnam Evasion offers a complete and varied range of accommodation options, where comfort and warmth of welcome are always at the forefront. All establishments are selected according to strict criteria in order to guarantee quality services to visitors.

Apart from hotels, bungalows, resorts, it is possible to stay with locals in some authentic places such as: Mekong Delta, Mai Chau, Nghia Lo, Sa Pa, Bac Ha, Thac Ba, Ba Be…

We will submit you concrete proposals according to your desires and your budget.

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