Exploring Vietnam's Hidden Wonders

Vietnam Beyond the Ordinary

Join Our Vietnam Expedition: Discovering Hidden Wonders as we venture off the beaten path into the remote, mountainous north of Vietnam – a region often missed by most visitors. Immerse yourself in the timeless way of life among local hill tribes, preserving traditions that have endured for centuries. Gain a fresh perspective on key northern highlights as we reveal a side of Vietnam few have the chance to experience.



  • Experience the blend of old and new in Hanoi
  • Discover local life from a Vespa perspective
  • Trek through mountainous rice terraces and untouched forests
  • Engage with remote tribal communities
  • Explore vibrant markets in Ha Giang
  • Bike serene hidden trails in the foothills

Hanoi, Mu Cang Chai, Sapa, Ha Giang, Dong Van, Ba Be National Park, Ninh Binh, Phong Nha

Sample Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival Hanoi

On arrival in Vietnam, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Touch down in the heart of northern Vietnam, get chatting with your guide and start to orientate yourself with the landscape. The rest of your day will be at leisure.

Day 2
Railway Tracks Walk & City Tour

Enjoy a full day exploring Hanoi. During the morning your guide will lead you through the maze of alleyways and back streets of Hanoi where you’ll get a real sense of local life. After time to freshen up, your afternoon will be dedicated to visiting Hanoi’s classic sites.

Mu Cang Chai is an area of Vietnam that’s relatively untouched by tourism, and foreign visitors are still a novelty. This is a very different Vietnam from the urban vivacity of Hanoi: life here, in the country’s agricultural landscape, moves through the shifting seasons at a more measured pace. Walk through beautiful, rice terraced valleys dotted with H’mong villages, where you can spend time with the ethnic minority communities who have made this rural region their home, and learn about a way of life that has gone on relatively unchanged - give or take a smartphone or two - for centuries.

Day 3
Drive to Mu Cang Chai

Head north west from Hanoi, past the villages of the Red River Delta, into the hazy mountains of Yen Bai province. The drive will take most of the day, taking you through captivating scenery which makes the journey pretty special. Stop to stretch your legs and enjoy lunch with a humdinger of a view. Upon arrival in the late afternoon, check in to Mu Cang Chai Eco Lodge, a sustainable and community-focused hotel perched high in the rice paddies.

Day 4
Village & rice paddy walks

Set out into the countryside on foot, walking through the rice terrace to several H’mong villages, getting a sense of the hard graft of daily life in the region, especially during rice harvest season. In the afternoon, trek from Lang Sang junction to the village of Ngoc Chien, home to the Thai minority tribe who are renowned for their beautifully woven garments. Meet with the villagers and learn more about their traditional way of life, with your guide as interpreter, and take a few photos of the stunning panoramic views. Take the opportunity to soak tired muscles in the village’s hot springs before returning to Mu Cang Chai Eco Lodge for a hearty post-trek dinner.

Day 5
Pung Luong walk, drive to Sapa

Pung Luong, a short journey from the eco lodge, is the starting point for a last walk through Mu Cang Chai. After a 2.5 hour trek along rice terraces and through small H’mong villages, meeting the locals working on the land as you walk, your driver will collect you and take you on towards Sapa. Stretch your legs at Than Uyen Town, then continue along the ruggedly beautiful Hoang Lien Son Pass. At an altitude of 5,250 ft, this winding pass connecting the Lai Chau and Lao Cai provinces, via the Hoang Lien Son Mountains (which boasts Fan Si Pan among its peaks) offers some truly exceptional views. Though you’ll be absorbed in the moment, remember to take a few photos to relive the region’s beauty once you get home too. After check into your hotel, the rest of your day is at leisure.

Day 6
Visit tribal villages

Trek along the well-made paths of Hoang Lien National Park, meeting members of the Black H’mong community who live within the park and have expert knowledge of its landscape and ecosystems. Learn about local tribal history and traditional customs before crossing the Muong Bo River into Thanh Phu village, home to the Tay tribe, and on to the remote village of My Son, home to the Xa Pho community - the smallest ethnic minority in Sapa. Meet the villagers and learn about the distinctive traditional clothing unique to each tribe. Spend the night at Nam Cang Riverside Lodge at the far eastern end of Sapa valley, as guests of a Red Dao family whose forebears have lived in the region for generations. The remainder of your day is at leisure to relax by the river or potter around the village, before enjoying dinner cooked over an open fire.

Day 7
Nam Cang trek

The Red Dao community are known for their skills in herbal medicine, weaving, embroidery, and bamboo paper-making, which you will see as you explore the village. Watch as local silversmiths create exquisite jewellery, and have a fishing lesson with the villagers as they catch their evening meal in the river. Drive on for about 30 minutes to Topas Ecolodge, which boasts speech-stopping views over Sapa valley and takes you further from the town. Your afternoon is at leisure, and you’re superbly placed for walking and mountain biking if you wish to explore your surroundings a bit more: one particular two-hour trail takes you to visit a hidden village deeper in the valley, passing through rice paddy terraces and walking along the rushing river. Alternatively, take a break to appreciate the panoramic views from the resort terrace.

Day 8
Visit ethnic villages & Ha Giang

Depart for Ha Giang, stopping en route at the Pa Then minority villages at Tan Trinh. In Pa Then culture, half of a couple’s children take the father’s family name and half the mother’s, and the community preserves their traditions through legends, folk songs, lullabies, and dance. Arriving at Ha Giang in the late afternoon, the remainder of your day is at leisure.

Day 9
Quan Ba to Nam Dam village trek

Today, you won't want to put your camera away as you can be sure of some spectacular scenery from start to finish. Drive to Quan Ba, making stops at Heaven’s Gate and Fairy Mountain. Once at Quan Ba begin a scenic trek to the Dao village of Nam Dam, where you will be spending the night. An afternoon stroll around the village offers an insight into day-to-day life and traditional culture that has barely changed over the generations.

Day 10
Market & tribal village visits

Bid farewell to your hosts and visit the colourful minority market at Quyet Tien. Pause to observe flax weaving at a White H’mong village, and the long, traditional costumes of the Zao Ao Dai. You'll also see the 100 year old Lo Lo house at Sung La, visit the ancient H'mong King Palace, before ending up in Dong Van town.

Day 11
Dong Van, Meo Vac & Ha Giang

The Sunday morning Dong Van market is one of the most colourful markets in Vietnam. Dressed in traditional clothing, local traders from tribal communities from all over the area come to the market to sell everything from livestock to embroidery. You'll have time to barter and enjoy the ambience before being driven up the winding pass to the peak of Ma Pi Leng. One of the most dramatic stretch of roads in Asia, the winding Ma Pi Leng Pass clings to the edge of the limestone mountains, offering spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding range, and the rivers and paddy-field terraces far below; the photo opportunities are endless. Pause to observe Meo Vac’s cattle market as you continue your journey to Ha Giang, where the remainder of your day will be at leisure.

Day 12
Drive to Hanoi

After a leisurely breakfast depart for Hanoi, enjoying the changing mountain scenery en-route.

Day 13
Evening Vespa Tour

Enjoy a day at leisure until 6pm, when you’ll start an evening tour with a difference. Riding pillion on a Vespa, you’ll discover delicious Vietnamese street food specialities, and hang out where the locals do. Sip a cold beer at a vintage bike themed cafe, sample some of the city’s best Pho Cuon spring rolls on the shores of West Lake, drive along one of the most romantic and picturesque streets in the city, and fill up on Cha Ca, a signature dish of Hanoi. After eating, head to Ba Dinh square to watch the ceremonial changing of the guard at Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, before finishing the evening on a lighter note with a drink and some live music at a hip bar.

Day 14
Depart Hanoi

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Booking Policy

English speaking, local guide
All accommodation listed
Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
Any domestic flights listed (unless marked otherwise)
All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
All meals listed

Entry visas
International airport departure taxes
Any meals not listed in the itinerary
Drinks, other than water on activity days
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
Travel insurance
All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Personalised design
We’ll plan your trip around your specific interests, tastes and preferences, providing helpful tips and honest advice based on firsthand knowledge of the destionation.
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Client Reviews: Find out what our clients have said about their experience.

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Nov 2016
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