This trip offers an epic journey through some of the most remote and stunningly picturesque areas of northern Indochina. In addition you will witness an extremely diverse and tribal rich culture that is unique to this area. Over the course of 18 days you will spend time in the busy Vietnamese capital, Hanoi, travel to Vietnam's far north where you spend time with the Dao and Hmong people before trekking through the Tonkinese Alps. Take a cable car to the top of Indochina and explore the historical battle fields of Dien Bien Phu before travelling overland to Laos. Here you will witness first hand the isolated beauty of the Nam Ou River before visiting the ancient town of Phongsali. Learn about the Akha people who reside here before enjoying some luxury in Muang La - a welcome time for relaxation before your trip comes to an end in the UNESCO recognised town of Luang Prabang.
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.
Contact a specialist
Treat this trip purely as a starting point for your own tour to Vietnam. Your specialist will ask you what you want and then shape your itinerary to match.
- Your trip will be unique
- We work to your interests and budget
- Advice from first-hand expertise
- Ha Giang
- Meo Vac
- Nam Dam Village
- Hoang Su Phi
- Sapa and the Tonkinese Alps
- Dien Bien Phu
- Tay Trang
- Muang Khua
- Muang La
- Luang Prabang
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Day 1 Hanoi
Day 2 Hanoi
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.
Day 3 Ha Giang
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,
Day 4 Meo Vac
Ha Giang , Meo Vac
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.
Day 5 Nam Dam Village
Meo Vac , Nam Dam Village
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.
Day 6 Hoang Su Phi
Nam Dam Village , Hoang Su Phi
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.
Day 7 Hoang Su Phi
Day 8 Sapa and the Tonkinese Alps
Hoang Su Phi , Sapa and the Tonkinese Alps
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.
Day 9 Sapa and the Tonkinese Alps
Day 10 Dien Bien Phu
Day 11 Muang Khua
Dien Bien Phu , Tay Trang , Muang Khua
Day 12 Phongsali
Muang Khua , Phongsali
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.
Day 13 Phongsali
Day 14 Muang La
Phongsali , Muang La
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!
Day 15 Muang La
Day 16 Luang Prabang
Day 17 Luang Prabang
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.
Day 18 Return home
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When to go
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