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Vietnam Adventure Tours: 18-Day The Unseen Northwestern

Exploring the fairy-tale landscapes of Northwestern Vietnam in style. Starting the discovery at the famous Sapa before heading to Son La & Dien Bien Phu, touching clouds on grandiose mountains and memorable historical site. Finishing the journey with some easy walk around the countryside of Pu Luong and Mai Chau valley to unwind and cap off your Northwestern Vietnam adventure.


Various activities on sites

  • Exploring the city of Hanoi visiting some most popular sites
  • Trekking the northern part of Vietnam passing some of the most breathtaking sites
  • Cycling along the countryside of the beautiful Mai Chau Valley
  • Experience the cuisine and share the homestay with the tribe people.

Unforgettable moments

  • Walking through the small streets of Hanoi whilst the sea of motorbike running around
  • Admiring the panoramic view from Khau Pha and O Quy HO pass (Heaven Gate)
  • Admiring the amazing rice terraced field in the northern Vietnam (depending on season)
  • Driving through the zigzagging mountain paths of northern Vietnam and watching the life of tribe people

Nature exploration

  • The amazing nature of northern Vietnam in Sapa, Mu Cang Chai, Lai Chau or Son La
  • The evergreen nature of Cuc Phuong National Park & Van Long Nature Reserve

Culture experience

  • The never-fading culture of Hanoi emerging with the new way of life of a big city
  • The culture of various ethnic tribe people in northern Vietnam


Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Hanoi

Upon arrival at Noi Bai International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in the old quarter of Hanoi.

Vietnam's capital races to make up for time lost to the ravages of war and a government that as recently as the 1990s kept the outside world at bay. Its streets surge with scooters vying for right of way amid the din of constantly blaring horns, and all-around layers of history reveal periods of French and Chinese occupation – offering a glimpse into the resilience of ambitious, proud Hanoians.


Check out the Hanoi travel guide

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Day 2 - Hanoi Farm Tour & Cooking Class with Local Family

Breakfast at hotel, we leave Hanoi center and drive to the west of city. 

Our visit will start from a local market since Le Dynasty, the most famous market in the region where many traditional items for sales, including dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, ducks, and bamboo baskets. 

Be surprised about bustling and colorful market which is working under the canopy of old tree.

Next to the market place is nice vegetable farms, where we take a tour around vegetable fields growing a variety of produce including: cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, green peas, Chinese peas and corn, as well as fruit gardens with oranges, pomelos, papaya, etc. 

Join with a local farmer with his daily work. Depend on the season this will involve ranking, sowing, water greens, picking greens and other garden activities. 
During the work, learn more about cultivation techniques and lifestyle through the farmer’s stories. 

At noon time, we will visit a local family and learn how to prepare delicious local meals by fresh ingredients, then make traditional cake while learning more about Vietnamese family's customs.

Enjoy special tea and local wine from the host. Bid farewell to the family and driver back Hanoi center. At leisure in the rest of the day.

Overnight in Hanoi.

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Day 3 - Hanoi - Yen Bai - Nghia Lo

You will be picked up at your hotel in Hanoi at 8.00 AM by your private tour guide and driver. After getting out of bustle and hustle Hanoi, you will enjoy the countryside view through the windows while driving northwestward to Yen Bai province.

Arrive at Nghia Lo town early in the afternoon, check in our home-stay at a peaceful village nearby Nghia Lo.

Lunch and rest on a traditional stilt house. In the afternoon, we embark on a bicycling tour to discover the daily life of the ethnic community in the area and enjoy the beautiful scenery of villages, rice fields and mountains.

Dinner and overnight at a hotel in town

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Day 4 - Nghia Lo - Mu Cang Chai

After breakfast, we bid farewell to the host family and head for Tu Le town. Tu Le is a little town located at beautiful valley at the foot of Khau Pha Pass.

Upon arrival, we get ready for a soft trek to the rice valley and visit some villages. Taking photographs and meeting local people. Back to the town and having lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, we start our drive up the famous Khau Pha Pass. This mountain pass is known for terraced rice paddies. The scenery over the valley from the pass is so stunning at the rice reason, especially during the harvesting time.

We will have some stops for photo opportunities on the way to Mu Cang Chai. Arrive in Mu Cang Chai town late in the afternoon.

Check in another home-stay by the town. After getting our baggage stored, we will end the day with a gentle walk to visit a village of the Thai ethnic minority at the foot of a mountain nearby.

Dinner and overnight at the home-stay.

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Day 5 - Trekking Mu Cang Chai Surrounding

This morning, we will get a transfer to a trekking point for the whole day trek to enjoy Vietnam’s national rice terrace heritage. Our trek will start from Che Cu Nha commune to La Pan Tan Commune. It is around 13 km.

This trek will definitely offer us a good opportunity to see the main spots and admire the beauty of amazing rice terraces that Mu Cang Chai has to offer. We will also be able to visit a few villages of the H’mong hill tribe scattered in the area.

Get picked up by your private vehicle around 4.00 PM. Transfer back to the accommodation and stay for the second night in Mu Cang Chai.

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Day 6 - Mu Cang Chai - Than Uyen - Sapa

After the breakfast, we will bid farewell to the host family and make our way to Sapa. We will have some stops on the way for photographing today such as Than Thuoc Tea Plantation, O Quy Ho Pass, Silver Waterfall... Have lunch at a restaurant upon arrival in Sapa. In the afternoon, take a trek on the concrete path to Ta Phin Valley. Late afternoon, check in your hotel and stay for the night.

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Day 7 - Sapa - Hang Da - Hau Thao

In the morning, our guide will meet you at your hotel. After a short introduction, it will take 1km uphill on a small trail to the mountain views where you will get to see the Fansipan mountain 3.143 m, highest in Indochina and see all of Sapa town. 

From here, you will get to see the famous and most significant rice terrace fields in Vietnam (in Muong Hoa valley) as well as see the most significant river and valley in Sapa. 

After enjoying the beautiful landscape, we will continue our way on mountainside down to Hang Da, a village of Black Hmong minority. 

The tour will give you the chance to see some animals such as buffalos, cores, pigs. And then we will have lunch at a small restaurant run by a local family. 

After lunch, we will make our way on a little road down to Hau Thao, a village of Black Hmong ethnic minority. 

Here you will see the local’s daily life if it is the right time you will get to see the local people are working on the fields such as harvesting or planting rice. 

We will be warm welcoming by the Black Hmong family at their homestay in Hau Thau village. You will then have time to rest, take a hot shower, and wait for your dinner.

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Day 8 - Back to Sapa

When you wake up the next morning and open the window, you can see the clouds flowing through the valley while the sun starts to rise above the mountains. 
After a nice breakfast with the host family, we will begin the trek of the next day. We will start the walk from the Homestay to the Su Pan, a small village close to the mountains of Black Hmong people, from here you can take some photos with the panorama view of rice fields, the locals here are living in small traditional houses, and the life still true nature. 

After visiting Su Pan, we will continue on a small jungle route to Ban Lech Hmong village, where you will see the incredible view of Muong Hoa valley (forward to Sapa town) which is 1.500 meters above the level sea – this view might your own. 

This hill, we also called Tiger Mountains because a long time ago the tigers are living in this place, it is a true story – Our guide will explain to you more about it. 
We will then downhill to the Lech Dao where you will see the different ethnic minority of Red Dao people, this tribe is known for their expertise in herbal medicine as well as usage of plants from the land to treat many illnesses. 

We will then walk to the main road where a car/bus will bring you to a small market for lunch. After lunch, the bus will bring you back to Sapa town. 

End of the tour about 3:30 pm or 4 pm, transfer back to your hotel inside the town of Sapa.

Overnight in Sapa

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Day 9 - Sapa - Tam Duong - Lai Chau - Phong Tho

After breakfast at your hotel, continue our trip to Lai Chau. The route from Sapa to Phong Tho is on one of the most beautiful mountainous stretch on road in the whole Vietnam with magnificent scenery. 

From Sapa Town, you will drive uphill to the highest pass "Heaven Gate Pass" which is 2000 meters in height. From here you have bird-eyes view of the enormous picturesque Muong Hoa valley and Fansipan Mount. 

Running 30 kms further to the other side of the pass, you will arrive in Tam Duong where you have time to visit a small market and some surrounding villages.
Arrive Lai Chau town around noon, you will make a lunch stop here before continuing to Phong Tho. 

Along the way you have chance to stop at nice places to take pictures but also visit some Ethnic minority people village to explore other world here

Arrive Phong Tho late afternoon, check in hotel, rest and refresh

Overnight in Phong Tho

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Day 10 - Phong Tho - Sin Ho - Dien Bien Phu

After breakfast at hotel, continue our trip via a small zigzag road, which runs precipitously up to Sin Ho. 

Sin Ho is home to many different minorities people such as the Nung, White Thai, Black Dao, and Dao Tien, who will gather in the town's market every Sunday for purchasing and socializing. 

The run downhill from Sin Ho to Muong Lay is still one of the nicest one, though some parts of the road might be under-construction.

From Muong Lay it takes around 2 hours to Dien Bien on a much easier road, in compared with the precious ones. If you arrive in Dien Bien early enough, you will visit the historical sites such as De Castries's bunker, the Dien Bien Phu museum, the A1 hill and so on. 

Overnight at hotel in Dien Bien city.

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Day 11 - Dien Bien Phu - Son La

AM: You will depart Dien Bien Phu for Tuan Giao, where you will get on board for a cruise on Pa Khoang Lake. There will be possibilities for visiting one or more villages of the Kho Mu or the Thai minorities. You will then have a transfer back to Dien Bien Phu for lunch.

In the afternoon, continue to Son La. Upon arrival, visit Son La prison, which was built by the French in 1908, on the mountain of Khau Ca where belong to Son La City.

Then transfer to your hotel to take some rest.

Overnight in Son La


Approx: 100 kms/ 2 hours driving. 

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Day 12 - Son La - Pu Luong

After breakfast, depart for Hoa Binh Province, which lies just 80km west of Hanoi. On the way we’ll make a stop at a local market before continuing towards Mai Chau Valley and stopping in the village of Pom Coong for a bit of rest and lunch in a typical Thai house built on stilts.

After lunch, we’ll go for a hike through the Pu Luong Reserve, walking amidst rice fields and mountains, and crossing small villages where we’ll get to see the traditional daily life of the locals all around us in this natural paradise. You will get an even closer look at this when we have dinner and spend the night with a local family in one of the Thai stilt houses.

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Day 13 - Pu Luong - Kho Muong (Trekking)

Today, we have an optional activity for those that do not mind rising early. If you get up before sunrise, you can enjoy watching it ascend over the mountain tops, as local farmers hustle around doing their early morning activities. You can even join in for a little while to get a true taste for rural Vietnamese life.

Whether you participate in this or not, you’ll enjoy breakfast made by the local Thai people you’re staying with, before starting the 5-6 hours of trekking we have planned for you. The first stretch is the hardest, containing some steep climbs and exciting river crossings, but you will be well rewarded as the next stretch is easier, and you’ll get to see absolutely stunning views of the valley and rice terraces, rainforests and streams within from your high vantage point.

A picnic lunch will be served when you reach Hin Village, before continuing on to Hieu Village, considered by many to be the most aesthetically beautiful rural village in all of Vietnam.

Finally we’ll reach Kho Muong village, where you can spend your time freely, either by strolling around the village and talking to locals, or relaxing in the eco homestay set up by FFI (Flora and Fauna International) in conjunction with the local communities. The total trekking you will have done to get here is around 12-15 kilometers.

At night you’ll have time to drink and socialize with the friendly locals amidst the tranquil ambiance of Kho Muong, before turning in for the night in a traditional Thai style stilt house.

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Day 14 - Kho Muong - Mai Chau

After breakfast, it is time for another 3 hours of trekking, or around 5 to 7 kilometers. Starting with a nice easy stretch, giving you a chance to relax and connect with your surroundings, as well as warming you up for the challenges ahead.

After a short rest in Ban Hieu Village, you will conquer some steep climbs and even more thrilling river crossings, before the valley opens up into fantastic views from your elevated position. Once you have spent enough time to enjoy these sights, we will move on to Pho Doan Village.

From there, we will hop on the waiting minivan to transfer directly to Mai Chau.

Upon arrival, check-in to our hotel with fine views of local villages distantly related to the tribes in Thailand, Laos and China, lunch is included at the hotel.

You are free in the afternoon to relax and enjoy the pool.

Overnight in Mai Chau

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Day 15 - Mai Chau - Xam Khoe - Cooking Experience

After breakfast, drive to Xam Khoe Village and set off on a walking tour to Buoc Village populated by the Thai ethnic minority people, the terrain is mainly flat, sticking to the valley floor traversing the network of banks separating rice paddy fields. 

Enjoy local hospitality in a simple stilt-house as a home-cooked lunch of regional specialties such as Goi cuon (spring rolls) or Pho (Vietnam's national dish, a light beef or chicken broth flavored with ginger and coriander, to which are added broad, flat rice noodles, spring onions and slivers of chicken, pork or beef) prepared by a local Thai family. 

Short drive back to Mai Chau with a stop en route to explore the magnificent Van Mai Valley.

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Day 16 - Mai Chau - Cuc Phuong National Park

After breakfast, start the tough day cycling from Man Duc, Hoa Binh to Cuc Phuong National Park. The road is quite flat and in good condition mostly on Ho Chi Minh trails. 

We will have lunch on the way in a local restaurant. Reaching Cuc Phuong National Park, check in the park hotel and relax after a long day pedaling.

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Day 17 - Cuc Phuong - Van Long - Hanoi (Biking)

After breakfast, it takes a short distance biking to the Endangered Primate Rescue center and the Turtle conservation center. If you go with kids, these are very good places for them to study about nature preservation. 

We continue cycling about 2 hours through the National Park and stop to visit Cave of Ancient Men. Continue riding to the center of the park, we arrive the Park Center. 

Lunch here before taking car out of the forest to Van Long Nature Reserve. 

Taking a boat trip and get deeply in the Nature you can see lots of birds and even the "white short langur" a very rare primate in Vietnam. Say good-bye with the rower, we take the car back Hanoi. 

Overnight in Hanoi

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Day 18 - Hanoi - Departure

You are free to stroll around the town for your own exploration before taking the departure flight

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We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

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Ha Long Bay
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Hoi An
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Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
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Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury Holiday
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Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Honeymoon Vacation
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Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Wellness & Leisure
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Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Family Vacation
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The combination of fun and educational activities

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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling & Biking
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Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Trek & Hike
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Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

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Either are you wondering about best time to visit, visa policy, or how to get the cheapest flight, we have your back!

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Vietnam would scrap the Covid-19 testing requirement for all arrivals starting Sunday, May 15th 2022, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has directed.

In a document issued Friday, the Prime Minister requested the Ministry of Health to closely follow the coronavirus situation and provide proper guidance. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs should direct Vietnamese authorities outside the country to inform people who wish to enter Vietnam to follow appropriate disease prevention measures, he said.

The latest decision has been made as the number of Covid-19 infections and deaths drops both in Vietnam and around the world. Several countries have been taking steps to relax coronavirus restrictions, including scrapping testing before entry.

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Those who don’t have a negative test result must refrain from making contact with others during the first 24 hours after entry. They will be able to move freely once they test negative after arrival.

Children under two don’t need to be tested.

Vietnam stopped requiring medical declarations from those arriving from abroad starting April 27, and for domestic travel starting April 30.


The “Colorful Hanoi” hot air balloon festival is one of the attractive activities within the framework of the program “Hanoi tourism welcomes 2022” taking place from March 25-27, 2022.

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Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
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