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Tour highlights

  • Explore the frenetic Vietnamese capital and sample some of the country's best loved street food.

  • Journey through the rarely visited and strikingly beautiful Ha Giang region of Vietnam. Here you will explore the history and culture of the Dao and Hmong minority people.

  • Trek your way through Hoang Su Phi and Sapa as well as taking a cable car to the highest point in Indochina - Mount Fansipan.

  • Wander through the old battlefields of Dien Bien Phu and learn about Vietnam's greatest ever military victory.

  • In Laos you will take one of the most rewarding river journeys in the region followed by some time in remote Phongsali.

  • End with some luxury at Muang La Lodge and some time in UNESCO recognised Luang Prabang.

Price includes

  • Scheduled international flights
  • In-destination transfers
  • Activities and excursions as detailed
  • All accommodation

Itinerary idea in detail

Including international flights from Ireland.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Hanoi.

  • Your guide will meet you at airport arrivals and transfer you to your hotel. At leisure this evening - perhaps wander out into the vibrant Old Quarter and around Hoan Kiem Lake, which is beautifully lit up at night.

  • This morning your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel and bring you to the Museum of Ethnology, so that you can start learning about the origins, distribution, appearance and fascinating culture of the many ethnic minorities in Vietnam. In the afternoon an in-depth exploration into the delicious street food available on your doorstep, given by an expert in the field - a local food blogger.

  • Today a full day's driving from Hanoi city up to the mountains of Ha Giang. There is plenty to see along the way and you will have opportunities to observe and interact with locals, take photos of stunning scenery and stop for refreshments and comfort breaks. You stay in a pretty, family-run homestay in a village on the edge of Ha Giang, that is very pleasant to wander around,

  • Today the driving from Ha Giang to Meo Vac takes about half the day, but as ever there are stops for refreshments and scenery. Your home for the night is a traditional Hmong, clay-walled building which is very characterful. You may like to do some walking in the local area - the Auberge can arrange a guide for you.

  • Today drive to Nam Dam Village (a half day's driving but the stops will probably make the journey take the best part of the day). A highlight of this journey will no doubt be the vertiginous scenery of the Mã Pí Lèng Pass. You will also visit the Hmong King's Palace at Sa Phin, designed by a Chinese Feng Shui expert, and see a Hmong weaving village, with their intricate looms.

  • This morning you may like to do some walking in the area, populated by the Red Dzao ethnic minority. There is some great scenery and walks between 2 and 6 hours. Later transfer by car to Hoang Su Phi, this should only take about 3 hours. It is a very scenic journey however, you will see some beautiful rice terraces - the last section is a fairly windy mountain road. Now for a stay at the lovely Pan Hou Village, a beautifully landscaped property with an excellent restaurant and spa house.

  • A full day's trekking out on the rice terraces with your private guide. Don't forget your camera!

  • Another lovely drive today, to get to Sapa. Please be aware that some of the roads earlier on in the journey are untarmacked mountain roads. Some of the valleys you pass through are absolutely stunning. It's a full day's driving with stops. Tonight stay at the gorgeous Topas Ecolodge, with great views out to the mountains.

  • Today your guide will take you out to visit minority villages in the area. In the afternoon you can take the cable car up to the top of Fan Si Pan, the tallest mountain in Indochina.

  • Today a full day's driving (with stops, as usual) to get to Dien Bien Phu, the site of a very important battle between the French and the Vietnamese that led to the French moving out of Vietnam.

  • This morning you have touring of the museum and key sites on the battlefield. Afterwards you have a couple of hours' driving to get to the little-used border with Laos. Meet your Laotian guide and driver and drive through pretty mountain scenery to Muang Khua, situated on the stunning Nam Ou River.

  • Today you have a combination of road and boat transfers to reach Phongsali in northern Laos. The boat journeys are incredible - very few tourists get up to this part of the Nam Ou, it feels quite wild and remote. The travelling will take most of the day, but as usual there will be stops along the way. Phongsali is one of the least visited parts of Laos, it is a mountainous area populated by many ethnic minorities (including the Akha) and where tea is grown. It is close to the border with China.

  • Today your private guide will help you explore Phongsali and surrounds, including tea plantations and processing plants. The procedure for "curing" the tea once picked is fascinating.

  • From Phongsali you have a full day's driving to get to Muang La - and a very special property indeed. Muang La Lodge is a luxury property, set up by a French couple, that is perfectly in harmony with its surroundings and the local community. All meals are included here and the food is really quite special. The lodge has an excellent spa and hot springs on site!

  • A full day to explore the local area and learn about the ethnic minorities here.

  • The last leg of your incredible overland journey takes you, over about half a day, to charming Luang Prabang. Enjoy the atmospheric night market.

  • Today you have about half the day to explore the attractions of Luang Prabang with your private guide. We strongly recommend visiting the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, a very well maintained museum dedicated to the tribal culture of Laos. This will help you process much of what you saw on your journey over from Vietnam.

  • We will transfer you to the airport ahead of your international flight out. Your return flight will arrive the same day.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
July is one of the best times to visit
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Hanoi
 
Ha Giang
 
Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps
 
Dien Bien Phu
 
Muang La
 
Luang Prabang
 
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