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A tribal journey through northern Vietnam and Laos

19 days from £5,980pp

What is tailor made? Customised itinerary | Every trip is unique | Flexible accommodation options | Designed to your budget

Itinerary 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
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  • Hanoi
  • Ha Giang
  • Meo Vac
  • Nam Dam Village
  • Hoang Su Phi
  • Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps
  • Dien Bien Phu
  • Tay Trang
  • Muang Khua
  • Phongsali
  • Muang La
  • Luang Prabang

Itinerary idea in detail

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With international flights from a choice of airports including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Day 1 International outbound flight

International outbound flight

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

Day 2 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.

Day 3 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 4 Ha Giang

Hanoi , 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 Hoang Su Phi

Hoang Su Phi

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


Day 9 Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps

Hoang Su Phi , Sapa & 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 10 Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps

Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps

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.

Day 11 Dien Bien Phu

Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps , Dien Bien Phu

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.


Day 12 Muang Khua

Dien Bien Phu , Tay Trang , Muang Khua

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.


Day 13 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 14 Phongsali


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.


Day 15 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 16 Muang La

Muang La

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


Day 17 Luang Prabang

Muang La , Luang Prabang

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

Day 18 Luang Prabang

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 19 International return flight

Luang Prabang , International return flight

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

Audley Travel specialist Anna
Audley Travel specialist Hannah

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Vietnam will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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Ha Giang
Sapa & the Tonkinese Alps
Dien Bien Phu
Muang La
Luang Prabang