Day 1: Arrival in Hanoi. Arrive at Noi Bai Airport. Pick up and transfer to the hotel. Hanoi, Vietnam's capital city, boasts tree-lined streets and centuries-old temples. An afternoon sightseeing tour features both cultural and historical highlights, comprising the Temple of Literature, the Ethnology Museum, the old quarters and a downtown pedicab ride (1 hour). Overnight in Hanoi. Includes: (D).
Day 2: Hanoi - Hoa Binh - Lao Cai. Leave for Hoa Binh (75 km), a quiet town surrounded by lakes and mountains. Take a boat ride on the Da River to visit villages of the Yao and Muong tribes in natural lakeside surroundings. Enjoy a tribal folk show performed at a traditional house-on-stilts. Return to Hanoi. Spend time shopping or at leisure before transferring to the Hanoi railway station. Board a night train for Lao Cai (370 km). Berths in air-conditioned compartments are provided. Overnight on board. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Lao Cai - Bac Ha. After a 10 hours' ride, arrive in Lao Cai, a small border town by the Red River. Pick up and ascend to Bac Ha (70 km) via a winding road with breath-taking mountain views. Visit Bac Ha Fair (on Sunday only), considered the most lively and crowded in the region. It attracts a large number of Flower H'mong and other hill-tribe groups (Nung, Phu La, Tay). In the afternoon, a soft trek begins at Lung Phinh, 12 km from Bac Ha. Stroll around Flower H'mong and Phu La villages (6 km) to get to know the tribesmen. Transfer to hotel. Overnight in Bac Ha. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Bac Ha - Nam Mon. Take an amazing trek (12 km) to Nam Mon Village. Discover the unspoilt beauty of the Bac Ha Plateau with scenic terraced fields, majestic limestone peaks and smiling faces of Flower H'mong people. Picnic lunch en route and dinner at the village are included. Overnight at the home of a Black Yao household at Nam Mon. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Nam Mon - Coc Ly - Sapa. Follow a crowd of female villagers attired in colourful skirts and horses laden with local products on a walking path (2 km) to Coc Ly Fair (on Tuesday only). Dominated by the Flower H’mong, the fair sells various goods from vegetables, brocade to buffaloes, horses, pigs, etc. and offers a view of a nearby suspension bridge with splendid surroundings. Have a picnic lunch. Then take a boat ride (1 hour) down the Chay River to Bao Nhai Bridge and marvel at the wild grandeur of precipitous mountain cliffs. Travel up to Sapa (80 km), a small mountainous town frequently shrouded in mist and famous for hill-tribe villages nearby. Overnight in Sapa. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: Sapa - Thanh Phu. Leave for Ban Den (20 km) by car via a scenic road along the Muong Hoa Valley with a panoramic view of villages with thatch-roofed cottages and terraced fields. Enjoy an exciting descent (3 km) to Ban Ho Hamlet, where torrential branches of the Ngoi Bo River converge. Lunch is arranged at Ban Ho. Following quiet hilly roads to Thanh Phu (8 km) provides an ideal opportunity to savor the charm of pristine nature and hospitable villagers. Stay and have dinner at a Tay tribe house-on-stilts at Thanh Phu. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Excursion to Nam Sai. Spend the whole day exploring the Nam Sai area, home to the Sapho tribe with legends and customs still unknown. Numbering about 2,000 and dwelling on remote high mountains, Sapho tribesmen are rarely seen in Sapa. Trek to secluded My Son Hamlet (8 km) and wonder at the elaborate dress of Sapho girls. Return to Thanh Phu via another trail (6 km). Pinic lunch and dinner are included. Overnight at the home at Thanh Phu. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Thanh Phu - Sin Chai - Ban Ho. Make a thrilling ascent to Sin Chai (5 km) and explore a rarely-visited hamlet of the Red Yao tribe. The Red Yao lady is easily identified by her long locks of hair folded in a large red turban. Enjoy the hospitality of the villagers and the sight of terraced fields. Onwards to Ban Ho, a Tay tribe hamlet (10 km). Picnic lunch and dinner are included. Overnight at a local home at Ban Ho. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Ban Ho - Sapa. Take a short trek to Ban Den (3 km). Transfer to Sapa (20 km) by car with a stop-over at ancient rocks with hieroglyphs carved thousands of years ago. The rest of the day is leisure or shopping for delicate embroideries and batik at Sapa Fair. Climbing the steps to Mount Ham Rong with a panoramic view of Sapa is recommended. The evening entertainment is a tribal folk show at a bar. Overnight in Sapa. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Sapa - Lao Cai - Hanoi. In the morning, wander around Sapa Fair (on Sunday only) with hundreds of Black H'mong and Red Yao gathering. Socialize with the tribesmen and enjoy bargaining for unique souvenirs. Transfer to Lao Cai (40 km). Board the night train to Hanoi (370 km). Berths in air-conditioned compartments are provided. Overnight on train. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Hanoi. After a 10 hours' ride, arrive at the Hanoi Railway Station early in the morning. Pick up and transfer to a hotel. The whole day is leisure for personal pursuits in Hanoi. The evening entertainment is a water puppet show, a theatrical genre reflecting the agricultural civilization of thousands of years. Overnight in Hanoi. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: Departure from Hanoi. Spend last minutes for downtown shopping (ceramics, silver-carvings, silk) or at leisure before check-out. Transfer to the airport for departure. Includes: (B).
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