MINGLING WITH THE NORTHERN MINORITIES


We propose to you 3 tours in the Northern mountains of Vietnam, a magnificent region which the French had rightly nicknamed « The Tonkin Alps »:

You will meet colorful minorities: Black, Green, Blue and Flower Hmongs (in the region of Bac Ha), Nungs, Daos, Lolos, Thais, Tays, Muongs : 12 minorities live in the area and carefully preserve their traditions. You will visit their markets, and some villages on trekkings during which you will spend the night in a homestay. An absolutely unforgettable trip!

Those tours rates include all the expenses for the car, the chauffeur and the English-speaking guide (hotels and meals), the entrance fees, the boat rides if any, hotels, meals, taxes and service. They do not include your drinks and personal expenses.



Mingling with the Northern Minorities in 7 days

HANOI - DUONG LAM – NGHIA LÔ – MU CANG CHAI – THAN UYEN – SAPA - HANOI
(3 nights in homestays)

Day 1 : HANOI – DUONG LAM (MONG PHU) – NGHIA LÔ

 
Chua Thay Pagoda
  Morning departure to cross the Red River Delta and arrive at the Thay Pagoda (Chua Thay), an immense complex of pagodas stretched on several levels on a lime peak surging from the surrounding rice fields. In front of that complex, a small lake lined with multicolor houses, two Chinese covered bridges, cafe terraces and vendors, and a cute little pagoda in its middle. A visit of at least 1 hour.

10 km farther away, another surprising complex, much smaller, the Tay Phuong Pagoda (Chua Tay Phuong), three parallel structures on top of a lime peak, the oldest Chua Thay Pagoda dating from the XIIIth century.
 

Magnificent polychrome wooden statues (XVIIth-XVIIIth) representing « The Human Conditions », and the statue of Quan Am, the thousand-arm Goddess. We then drive to the village of Muong Phu (district of Duong Lam), famous for its tri-centenary houses, some still inhabited by the same family. We visit several of those houses and have lunch in one of them.


  We then take Route 32 and enter a scenery of higher and higher hills covered with tea plantations. Passage of the Khé Pass, and we arrive at the end of the day in the small Thai city of Nghia Lô, in the middle of a large rice-field plain surrounded by high mountains, the largest valley of North Vietnam after the Dien Bien Phu one.

Diner and night in a beautiful Thai homestay.
 
 



Day 2 : NGHIA LÔ – MU CANG CHAI

 
The rice-field terraces of La Pan Tan
  A first sumptuous day ! We enter the mountains to arrive to the village of Tu Lé, where we stop to visit the small Thai villages across the rice-field plain.

We then climb the Khau Pha Pass, surrounded by 2000-meter peaks and overlooking a large, stunning terraced rice-field plain, and arrive at the h'mong village of Nga Ba Khin.
 


7 km more of beautiful scenery and we reach the h'mong village of La Pa Tan, for which it is said that it has the most beautiful terraced rice-fields in Vietnam. We then go down to the valley of Mu Cang Chai and arrive in our Thai homestay, where we have diner and spend the night.



Day 3 : MU CANG CHAI – TREKKING TO THE H'MONG VILLAGE OF MO DÉ

  After breakfast, we take you to the beginning of the trail climbing to to the h'mong village of Mo Dé, a 5-km walk amidst a scenery of mountains and forests. If you do not wish to walk all the way, the trail is accessible to cars nearly up to the end.

Stroll in the village and back to Mu Cang Chai for lunch in a restaurant alongside the river. We then visit the charming Thai village of Om Koum. Relaxation, diner and 2nd night in your homestay.
 
The h'mong village of Mo Dé
 



Day 4 : MU CAN CHAI - THAN UYEN – SAPA

 
The Tram Lo Pass
  In the morning, we take Route 32 again, drive alongside the canyon of the Nam Kom River, and down to the small Thai town of Than Uyen. Visit of the market, the rendez-vous point of all the local des minorities and lunch in a traditional street restaurant. We then enter into the south of the enormous massif ending with the Fan Xi Pan summit, the highest one in Vietnam (3148 m). We climb two passes of hills covered with tea plantations, and then the Tram Lo Pass, 23 winding kilometers surrounded by high peaks, one of the most beautiful roads in Vietnam.

We arrive in the small town of Sapa (1400 m), the country's trekking center, where we check in a hotel offering a breathtaking view of the valley and the The Tram Lo Pass Fan Xi Pan Massif. Diner and night in Sapa.
 


Day 5 : TREKKING : SAPA – MA TRA – TA PHIN (1 night homestay)

Departure around 9:00 to discover the region's rich Dao and h'mong culture. We walk up and down through terrace rice fields and small ethnic village, towards the Valley of Ma Tra. We arrive at the dao homestay local house in the dao village of Ta Phin, on time for lunch. Relaxed stroll around the village after lunch. Diner and night at the dao homestay.


Day 6 : TREKKING : TA PHIN – XA XENG – GIANG TA CHAI – SAPA

 
The valley of Ta Phin
  After breakfast, departure for the village de Sa Seng. We climb a pass leading to the Valley of Muong Hoa and arrive at the village of Hau Thao, offering magnificent panoramic views of the valley, the most beautiful around Sapa.

Picnic lunch in the rice fields, followed by more walking to discover the local life. Return to Sapa by car.

End of the afternoon free to visit the two markets of Sapa and do some shopping of h'mong and dao artifacts.

2nd diner and night in Sapa.
 


Day 7 : SAPA - HANOI

We go down the Sapa Pass on a 34-km descent, to arrive at the town of Lao Cai, from which we take the road to Hanoi through small rice-fields and hills covered with tea plantations of the Dao and Muong minorities. Arrival in Hanoi around 18:00.


Rate per person in US dollars

1 pers. 2 pers. 3 pers. 4 pers. 5 pers.
$1381 $836 $680 $596 $548



Mingling with the Northern Minorities in 10 Days

HANOI - DUONG LAM – NGHIA LÔ – MU CANG CHAI – THAN UYEN – SAPA - HANOI
(6 nights in homestays)


This tour should start a Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday, to visit the Minority Market of Coc Ly (Tuesday morning), Can Cau (Saturday morning) or Bac Ha (Sunday morning). If you leave another day, the market is replaced by a beautiful excursion to the village of Coc Ly and the Quan Di Ngai Waterfall.


Day 1 to 6 : Same itinerary as the previous 7-day tour.

Day 7 : SAPA - LAO CAI – MUONG KHUONG – SI MA CAI – CAN CAU - BAC HA

We leave early in the morning to take a breathtaking road amid the Flower h'mong region.

 
Panorama from the road to Si Ma Cai
  Departure from Sapa and descend of the pass down to Lao Cai. We then take a beautiful road climbing North to the small h'mong town of Muong Khuong; stroll in the market, where you will see members of the small lolo minority in addition to h'mongs.

From there, an extraordinary road takes you up to the Chinese border (h'mong village of Pha Long), on top of a pass, and down to the canyon of the Chay River, which you cross on a new bridge. The road then leads you to the small town of Si Ma Cai, where we have lunch.

We then drive on another stunning road all the way down to the Flower h'mong village of Can Cau and the regional capital of Bac Ha, where we have diner and stay in a beautiful Thai homestay.
 


Day 8 : MARKET AND TREKKING

  Another exceptional day, which starts with the visit of a Flower h'mong market, where you mingle with all the local minorities : Flower, Black and Red H'mong, Red Dao, Dao Tien Mien, Phu La, Thaï, etc. (Coc Ly on Tuesday, Can Cau on Saturday, Bac Ha on Sunday). One of the most colorful markets in Vietnam, which explains its celebrity.

If there is a market that day, lunch in Bac Ha, followed by a small trek to the h'mong village of Ban Pho. If there is no market, we take you to a beautiful excursion to the village of Coc Ly and the Quan Di Ngai Waterfall. Diner and night in your homestay.

   


 
The valley of Bac Ha from Ta Van Chu
 
Day 9 : BAC HA (TREKKING TO THE FLOWER H'MONG VILLAGE OF TA VAN CHU)

The car takes you to the Phu La village of Lung Phin, then to the peaceful h'mong village of Ta Van Chu, where you have lunch. You then walk down the trail, which follows the mountain crests in magnificent panoramas, all the way down to the village of Nha Khéo and Bac Ha.

Diner and 3rd night in your homestay.
 


Day 10 : BAC HA - HANOI

We descend from Bac Ha to reach the valley of the Red River, which we follow all the way down to Hanoi through a region of hills covered with tea plantations. We are among the Yaos, Muongs and White Thaïs. Arrival at your Hanoi hotel around 18:00.


Rates per personn in US dollars

1 pers. 2 pers. 3 pers. 4 pers. 5 pers.
$1956 $1175 $950 $841 $734


Mingling with the Northern Minorities in 13 Days


HANOI - DUONG LAM – NGHIA LÔ – MU CANG CHAI – THAN UYEN – SAPA – BAC HA – HA GIANG – DONG VAN – MEO VAC – HA GIANG – HANOI
(8 nights in homestays)



Panorama from the Paradise Gate


This tour should start a Tuesday, Saturday or Sunday, to visit the Minority Market of Coc Ly (Tuesday morning), Can Cau (Saturday morning) or Bac Ha (Sunday morning). If you leave another day, the market is replaced by a beautiful excursion to the village of Coc Ly and the Quan Di Ngai.

You cannot do a most fabulous tour than this one, for, in addition to the terraced rice-fields of the region of Mu Cang Chai, the « Tonkin Alps » of Sapa and the Flower h'mong region of Bac Ha, you also reach the northernest point of Vietnam, the extraordinary region of the Black H'mongs of Dong Van. An extremely wild region of karst peaks, deep canyons, black granite needles (the locals call them « The Stone Forests ») and huge panoramas. The road of the Ma Pi Leng Pass between Dong Van and Méo Vac is one of the three most spectacular in Vietnam.


Day 1 à 9 : Same itinerary as the previous 10-day tour.


Day 10 : BAC HA – HA GIANG

Relax and lunch in your Bac Ha homestay. We then take the road towards the Southeast and then North into the mountains on Route 279, all the way to the regional capital of Ha Giang, a beautiful provincial town, where we have diner and spend the night in a Tay homestay 5 km away.


Day 11 : HA GIANG – DONG VAN

 
Vue from Dong Van
  After purchasing the mandatory permit at the Immigration Office, we take the first spectacular road, a succession of passes and valleys, to arrive at Quanh Ba, « Paradise Gate », and its breathtaking view of the northern mountains. Lunch in the small mountain town of Tam Son.

We then cross a landscape of pine forest and arrive at the cute King of the H'mong's Palace, a fortress built by a local chief allied with the French against the Vietminh, Vuong Chin Duc, and evacuated in 1950 (his descendants now live in France and Canada). Arrival in Dong Van around 18:00. Diner and night in Dong Van.
 


Day 12 : DONG VAN – MA PI LENG PASS - MEO VAC – HA GIANG


  An absolutely unforgettable day! It starts with the visit of the market of Dong Van, where the locals shop before returning to their eagle nest.

We then climb a pass up to the French Fortress of Pu Lo, built in 1890 and evacuated in 1945, from which we enjoy a spectacular view of the entire region.
 
Ma Pi Leng Pass
 

We then take the most astonishing road in Vietnam, which climbs on 15 km up to the top of the Ma Pi Leng Pass, through a gigantic maze of limestone peaks, "stoneforests", and canyons unique in the world. We then go down into the valley of Meo Vac for lunch. After lunch, we visit the Meo Vac market and then return to your Ha Giang homestay for diner and another night.


Day 13 : HA GIANG – HANOI

We descend from Ha Giang to reach the valley of the Red River, which we follow all the way down to Hanoi through a region of hills covered with tea plantations. We are among the Yaos, Muongs and White Thaïs. Arrival at your Hanoi hotel around 18:00.


Rates per personn in US dollars

1 pers. 2 pers. 3 pers. 4 pers. 5 pers.
$2554 $1499 $1216 $1088 $997


If your schedule and budget allow, you can continue this magnificent tour by going on Day 12 from Méo Vac to Bao Lac, where you have diner and spend the night, and then to Cao Bang (to admire the stupendous Ban Gioc Waterfalls) and Babe Lake (17-day tour) or to Babe Lake only (15-day tour). For the description of those two exceptional sites, please refer to the pages of our web site www.orientalbridgetravel.com/vietnam-north-4-6-days.htm







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