10 days

Northern Vietnam Discoverer

Northern Vietnam Discoverer

Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi

Black Hmong villages

Red Dzao people

Sapa hill tribes

Trip rating
  • This is the perfect short tour covering the highlights of northern Vietnam. Stroll along Hanoi's tree-lined boulevards and be enchanted by the French colonial architecture and old world vibe. We then make our journey to Sapa and on to the most untouched and remote part of Vietnam, Ha Giang, where we trek past terraced rice fields and forested mountains and stay in a traditional longhouse as guests of the White Thai people.



    This trip will be discontinued in 2016. For another great adventure in North Vietnam, see our Sapa Experience (PASPX).

    Why we love it

    • This is the perfect short tour covering the highlights of northern Vietnam.
    • Stroll along Hanoi's tree-lined boulevards and be enchanted by the French colonial architecture and old world vibe.
    • Journey to the most untouched and remote part of Vietnam - Ha Giang, where we trek past terraced rice fields and forested mountains and stay in a traditional longhouse as guests of the White Thai people.


    Day 1-2 - Hanoi - overnight train

    • Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam.
    • On arrival in Hanoi you will be met and transferred to your hotel. You will meet your tour leader here who will organise a pre-trip briefing, where you’ll meet the other members of your group.
    • Until the meeting, we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Hanoi has to offer. Make sure that you take a hotel business card so that you will be able to find your way back to the hotel.
    • Please note that your tour leader will collect your travel insurance details at the meeting, so please bring them with you. The meeting is generally followed by an optional group meal out at one of Hanoi's fantastic eating spots.
    • Hanoi is one of Asia’s most enchanting cities. The northern capital is a quiet contradiction to its southern counterpart. Its relaxed ambience is a joy, and exploration by foot or bicycle is recommended. The shopping is fun and the many lakes and parks provide enjoyable escapes from the city.
    • On Day 2 you will take a guided half-day tour of Hanoi that captures the beauty and the history of the laid-back, tree-lined capital, visiting the major sights including the Temple of Literature, One Pillar Pagoda, and paying a homage to Vietnam’s most famous revolutionary, Ho Chi Minh. You will pass by the Hoan Kiem Lake and visit the historic Old Quarter.
    • The tour will also include lunch at the KOTO café, an amazing project aimed at providing vocational training and experience in the hospitality industry for underprivileged young people.
    • You will board an overnight train to Sapa in the evening.
    • The trains are usually made up of four berth compartments, and sheets and blankets are provided, Some travellers prefer to bring their own sheets, but this completely up to you. There is a chance that you will be sharing your berth with people of different sexes and on occasion with people outside of your travel group.
    • There is a simple dining cart on the train, but it can be wise to stock up on bread, fruit and other delicacies prior to departure.
    Thien Thai or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch

    Day 3-4 - Sapa

    • You will arrive in Lao Cai in the morning and transfer by road to Sapa.
    • Start your adventure with a walk around the foothills of Sapa. You will cross an array of beautiful rice terraces, before strolling across lush tea plantations. Along the way, you will have the chance to meet some of the local minority people.
    • You will also embark on a walking tour of Sapa town while you are here, and also visit the town’s market where you can indulge in some local goods – for example, dyed fabrics, hemp plants and handmade textiles.
    • From the market you will head off on a short trek (approximately 2.5 hours) to visit a hilltribe village called Cat Cat.
    • Cat Cat is home to the H’mong people, who emigrated from China 300 years ago. It is also a beautiful place physically, located in a valley and surrounded by rice terraces.
    • The H’mong people are easily identifiable thanks to their dark clothing, died with the local indigo and hemp plants, and their headwear – the women with their hair curled up into a turban-like hat, and the men in skull caps.
    • Your second day in Sapa will be more relaxed, offering you the chance to explore this beautiful place for yourself.
    Bamboo Sapa Hotel or similar

    Day 5 - Ha Giang

    • From Sapa you will embark on a long bus journey (approximately 7 hours) to Ha Giang province. This is a beautiful highland region of lush forests and terraced rice paddies, with the dramatic mountains of Heaven’s Gate soaring in the background. Ha Giang province also shares a border with southern China, and is known as Vietnam's final frontier..
    • After relaxing and getting to know your surrounds, you will visit the local markets and shop fronts - relics of a bygone era.
    • You will also visit the local museum and explore Cuom Village, where you will witness the colourful traditional dress of the local people.
    Truong Xuan Resort or similar

    Day 6-7 - Dong Van

    • You will leave for the first of many scenic mountain drives throughout Ha Giang province today. You will stop to browse (and possibly buy!) at Minh Tao Market, before wandering through Nam Luong village.
    • A visit to Mrs Mai’s Responsible Tourism project will be a highlight of the day. Here you get to learn stories about human trafficking. Most of women (workers) here were the victim or witness of that crime and here is the place where they found an opportunity a life free from exploitation.
    • You will also pass through Lung Tam textile village and the Vuong Family Palace in Sa Phin commune before continuing on your way to Dong Van where you will spend the night.
    • You will awake today and visit the local market before setting off on a trekking loop that starts and finishes in Dong Van. The trek (approximately 4 hours) is surprisingly moderate and suitable for passengers with an average fitness level. It will wind you through the spectacular local landscape, where you can expect to catch glorious views and capture some beautiful pictures.
    Hoang Ngoc hotel or similar

    Day 8-9 - Ba Be Lake

    • You will travel on to Ba Be Lake today. The drive to Ba Be is approximately 8-10 hours, but the views are breathtaking, and the destination is well worth the trip. Transfer to a boat to travel across the lake, then there is a short walk to our homestay (approx. 20 minutes). Our luggage is transported with a motorbike and trailer.
    • Our homestay is basic and located over several stories with stairs only. Please be aware that flights of stairs are quite steep. The accommodation is dormitory style with mattresses on the floor. There are communal showers, sinks and toilets (Western style) downstairs.
    • On Day 9 we head out by motorised boat to explore the largest natural lake in Vietnam, surrounded by limestone bluffs and mountains- you will disembark for some light walks, visit waterfalls and observe the natural flora and fauna. This is a wonderful way to experience the beauty of this hidden gem first hand.
    Tay Homestay or similar
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 10 - Hanoi

    • You will depart Ba Be today and head back to Hanoi where your trip will come to an end on arrival at the Thien Thai Hotel at approximately 1 pm.
    • If you are flying out of Hanoi today, please do not book a flight to depart before 4 pm. Your leader can assist with transfers to the airport.
    • There is no accommodation included tonight, however your booking agent can assist at time of booking if you would like to extend your stay.
    Breakfast | Lunch
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leader throughout the tour, and local guides at some sites
    • Sightseeing in Hanoi (including entrance fees where applicable) - One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh’s House and Temple of Literature
    • Lunch at KOTO café in Hanoi – a project providing vocational hospitality training and experience to underprivileged young people
    • Journey to the most untouched and remote part of Vietnam - Ha Giang, where we trek past terraced rice fields and forested mountains and stay in a traditional longhouse as guests of the White Thai people
    • Visit Mrs Mai's amazing project, set up to aid victims of human trafficking
    • Arrival transfer
    • Accommodation: 3 nights comfortable hotel, 2 nights homestay, 3 nights hotel, 1 night overnight train
    • Meals: 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
    • (From 1st Jan 2015) Gratuities included for the essential services only that you will receive as part of your tour package

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Insurance
    • Other meals
    • Any optional tours and activities during free time
    • (From 1st Jan 2015) Gratuities for non-essential services and for tour leader
    • Items of a personal nature
    • Departure transfer

    Safety Information

    It is recommended that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information prior to your departure. Peregrine strongly recommends the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Please leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Most of our hotels will have a safety deposit box, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

    Your tour leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your tour leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and Peregrine makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your tour leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

    TRAFFIC AND DRIVING CONDITIONS: Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Be aware that traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home.

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    SWIMMING POOLS: You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.

    BALCONIES: Some hotel balconies don't meet western standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.

    SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PAND
Group size 1 - 12
Start City: Hanoi, Vietnam
End City: Hanoi, Vietnam
Style: Small Group

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