Vietnam is home to 54 distinct ethnic minority groups—and this tour is the perfect way to meet them. Get comfortable in the capital of Hanoi before trekking to remote tribes in Sapa, attending the largest tribal market in Northwest Vietnam, and cycling around and kayaking on the largest freshwater lake in the country while enjoying warm hospitality from your local homestays.

Language spoken on tour

English

Places visited

Hanoi Sapa Bac Kan Ba Be Lake
Days

9

Type of tour

Private

Hotel

Ethnic minorities of Vietnam highlights

Itinerary

Day 1 : Welcome to Hanoi

Welcome to the land of dragons, Vietnam. Upon arrival to Noi Bai Airport, our driver will greet you and transfer you to the city center to your hotel.

Meals: No meals

Accomodation: Silk Path Hotel Hanoi

Day 2 : A day in the life of a Hanoian

Dive into the history of Hanoi by visiting the iconic One Pillar Pagoda, designed to resemble a blooming lotus flower, commissioned by the legendary King Ly Thai To in 1049. Just a stone’s throw away lies the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, a monument and tribute to Ho Chi Minh, the “uncle” of modern Vietnam, as well as his preserved stilt house and a small museum dedicated to his life.

Pass by Vietnam’s first university, Quoc Tu Giam, otherwise known as the Temple of Literature. The grounds offer a quiet oasis in the center of Hanoi and will show you an interesting glimpse into the cultural elite’s past, dating back from 1076.

Have lunch at Koto Training Restaurant, a social enterprise dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty faced by many youths in the city, empowering them by training them in the culinary arts and hospitality training.

After lunch, peruse the carefully curated collections of tribal art, clothing, jewelry, and full-size replica houses at The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology. All displays are clearly labeled in English, French, and Vietnamese, with guides available at the main entrance for those who want to hear more in-depth information.

In the evening transfer to Hanoi Railway station and board your overnight sleeper train bound towards the hills, terraced rice fields, and mountains of Sapa in Lao Cai province.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 3 : Trek to Ta Phin Village and learn about the Red Dao's herbal and medicinal knowledge

Arrive around 5 am at Lao Cai Station and complete the 30-min ride by shared mini-van to the city centre of Sapa. Enjoy a local breakfast before beginning your overnight trek through the mountains, stopping in Ta Phin Village, home to both Hmong and Red Dao ethnic minorities. The Red Dao are especially known for their exceptional knowledge of herbs and plants to treat illnesses.

Learn about some of these remedies as you stay in the home of a Red Dao family, dining on a meal cooked over an open fireRest your tired body in an herbal bath before falling asleep surrounded by mountains and nature.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 : Meet Hmong minorities before returning to Sapa

After breakfast, continue your trek to Trung Chai Village, another village of Red Dao and Hmong minorities renowned for its jaw-dropping landscape. Spend time at the village before returning by car to Sapa.

Check into the BB Sapa hotel and have some time to relax and at leisure after completing the 24 km trek.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accomodation: BB Sapa Hotel

Day 5 : Discover the largest ethnic minority local market in all of Northwest Vietnam

Depart Sapa this morning and head towards Bac Ha, a village located a 2.5-hour drive away. This small town hosts a memorable market every Sunday known as the biggest meet-up of ethnic minorities in Northwest Vietnam. Wander the market and admire the striking outfits and bright colours worn by the local people from minority groups such as the Flower Hmong. Black Dao, Tay, Nung, La Chi, and Phu La, as they exchange news, wares, livestock, and other products.

After the market visit, a 5-hour drive brings you to Ba Be National Park, known for the largest lake in Vietnam and its sheer limestone mountain ranges. Upon arrival in Ba Be, stroll around the lake shore to enjoy the marvelous sunset before enjoying a homey dinner at your beautiful, traditional Tay wooden stilt house homestay.

*Note* Bac Ha Market is only available to visit on Sundays. If your dates do not line up, we will depart straight from Sapa to Ba Be Lake.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 : Cycle and kayak through the Halong Bay of the mountains

Wake up to the fresh air and sounds of nature surrounding Ba Be Lake, often nicknamed as the Halong Bay of the Mountains. Cycle through lush forests to some small villages in the park, such as Pac Ngoi Village where the Tay people’s livelihood comes from fishing on the lake.

Continue on by bicycle to Boc Lom Quay and transfer to your kayak as you paddle down the Nang River to Puong Cave. After observing the ancient stalagmites and stalactites, continue with your kayak to the Fairy Pond and An Ma Temple. Choose to explore by kayak or swimming before returning to Bo Lu Village in the late afternoon.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Visited:

Day 7 : Swim in the clear waters of Ba Be Lake

Explore the beauty of Vietnam’s largest natural lake today with a morning boat trip through the wild and dramatic scenery. Swim in the clean clear waters, keeping your eyes peeled for birds, bats, and butterflies who live here in this gorgeous haven.

The afternoon is free at leisure to discover the area independently.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8 : Return to Hanoi and explore at leisure

Leave the lake country behind after breakfast and journey back to Hanoi on a 5-hour car ride. When you reach Hanoi in the early afternoon, check-in to the Silk Path and have a hot shower and freshen up after the many adventurous activities you have joined during the last 9 days. The rest of the day is free at leisure to enjoy Hanoi independently.

Meals: Breakfast

Accomodation: Silk Path Hotel Hanoi

Day 9 : Time to say good-bye

Your day is free at leisure until your transfer to Noi Bai Airport to catch your onward planned travel arrangements.

Meals: Breakfast

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When you travel with Mundo Asia through any of our destinations, we're confident you'll return with memories that truly last a lifetime. That's why we are proud to promise you a best price guarantee with unbeatable prices for the highest quality and value. If you are able to find our exact program and product for a lower price on another website, we will refund you the price difference (terms and conditions apply).

Why book this tour

  • Explore Halong Bay of the mountains in stunning Ba Be Lake
  • Live like a local and enjoy authentic ethnic minority homestays in Sapa
  • Bargain for deals in Bac Ha, the largest ethnic minority market in Northwest Vietnam
  • Premium value at affordable prices
  • 5% off total package when you book and pay deposit 60 days before arrival

Tour information

General informationHotelImportant notes

Services included

  • Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast
  • Tours as per itinerary with local English speaking guide
  • All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles
  • All boat trips as program
  • All entrance fees as program
  • Meals as indicated in the program

Services excluded

  • Airfares (international and domestic) and airport taxes
  • Early check-in or late check-out
  • Personal expenses & tips
  • Meals other than mentioned in the program
  • Visa fees, travel insurances
  • Additional transfer required due to emergency situation
  • All services which are not mentioned in “services included”
General information

Services included

  • Accommodation in twin/double room with daily breakfast
  • Tours as per itinerary with local English speaking guide
  • All transfers and transportation with air-conditioned vehicles
  • All boat trips as program
  • All entrance fees as program
  • Meals as indicated in the program

Services excluded

  • Airfares (international and domestic) and airport taxes
  • Early check-in or late check-out
  • Personal expenses & tips
  • Meals other than mentioned in the program
  • Visa fees, travel insurances
  • Additional transfer required due to emergency situation
  • All services which are not mentioned in “services included”
Hotel
Important notes

About the tour

  • This trip includes a number of long journeys on windy and sometimes bumpy roads in a shared mini-bus on days 5, 8 and 9 in northern Vietnam, as well as an overnight train journey from Hanoi to Lao Cai on the night of day 2. This is often the best and only way to access some of these locations, but we promise you that the views for most of the journey are impressive enough to make it all worthwhile.
  • This trip includes a moderate level of fitness on days 3 and 4 to partake in a 24 km trek with gradual ascents and descents. Terrain can be uneven, muddy or loose underfoot. Although these adventure activities are possible for most travellers, a good level of fitness and a comfortable pair of shoes will help increase your enjoyment of this experience.
  • This trip includes a 1 night homestay in the Red Dao Ta Phin Village and 3 nights at Ba Be Lake in simple homestay accommodation to interact with locals. You will sleep on mattresses on the floor in a mixed-gender dormitory style with shared bathrooms.
  • Confidence on a bicycle is great, but not absolutely essential. If you would rather not participate in the cycling tour around Ba Be Lake on day 6, you can explore by foot or kayak instead
  • Flooding and typhoons are common across Vietnam between June-December, and can lead to landslides. During these months there may be disruptions to transport and some activities or destinations may need to be changed at short notice
  • The weather in Vietnam can be hot and sticky from May to November, so ensure that you pack accordingly. It is also recommended to bring warm clothes between the months of November to March as it can get quite cool in the evenings
  • This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible
  • Please ensure your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining at the time of your departure and that the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets
  • This package requires a visa to Vietnam

 

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Easy payment

Mundo Asia prides itself on its easy payment methods including by credit card, Onepay, PayPal, bank transfer, and in some cases, cash. Please refer to our booking terms and conditions for more information.

Flexible cancellation policy

Worried about cancellation fees? The only payment required is a 30% deposit of the total fees once all services are confirmed after the planning stages. In addition, Mundo Asia has a flexible cancellation policy which you can learn more about in our booking terms and conditions for more information.

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